Sometimes, life gets very stressful, but nature is always there for us. Often due to our busy day-to-day routine, we easily forget about the flowers blooming in our garden or the birds singing near our windows. During these difficult times, it is essential to connect back with nature for our own mental well-being.
How? Bird Watching!
Who doesn't love birds? Birds are fascinating creatures and teem in both villages and cities too. With most of us stuck indoors due to the Covid lockdown, here are a few winged visitors to watch out for from your balcony!
1. The Red-whiskered Bulbul
It is a sprightly garden songbird that likes urban gardens. It's fondly called the Urban songbird. They feed on a variety of native and introduced fruits, insects and flower buds. Their lively calls include loud and musical notes that make you extremely happy when you hear them.
2. Tickle’s Blue Flycatcher
I just love this attractive medium-sized flycatcher with its blue upperparts and orange-and-white underparts, with the most orange on the chest and the throat. Its pleasant high-pitched tinkling song is a treat to listen to. These birds were once found in the forests, now slowly making their way into the cities too.
3. Asian Koel
With the silence on the roads the distinctive song of the Asian Koel is simply the best wake up call for me. The "kooo-koooooo" sound that the Koel makes is actually a mating call. Asian Koels, like crows, are omnivores, feeding on fruits, insects, lizards and eggs of birds and other animals but as adults, they largely depend on fruits (frugivores) of fig trees and certain other trees that they may defend voraciously. Considering its opportunistic omnivore diet, it thrives in varied habitats, including the degraded urban setup where fruiting trees are in abundance.
4. Rose-ringed Parakeet
Vibrantly bright green, this bird nests in a hole in one dead tree opposite my balcony. The bright green plumage, the very long slender tail and the bright red bill make it very attractive to photograph. Easily overlooked if quiet, as the bright green plumage blends easily with foliage. Like other parakeets, they are raucous and social, often appearing in noisy groups.
5. House Sparrow
Small, plump, shaded brown and grey, these birds with their short tails and stubby, powerful beak fascinates me every time I hear them chirp in the morning. Sparrows are common city birds, but over the years their population has dwindled. Once a common visitor, it is now turned uncommon due to increased habitat loss and urbanization.
6. Indian Golden Oriole
I love these bright yellow birds. Their colour makes them very easy to spot in the trees. I have observed that they arrive somewhere in October and leave by April. The bird, true to its name, literally glitters like gold. They come every morning on the fruiting trees make a racket, forage and are gone. They do return in the evenings for one more round of foraging. So watch out for these during sunrise and sunset!
7. Oriental Magpie Robin
Whenever I feel bored, I peep out from my balcony to spot two Magpie Robins courting each other. This bird is considered to be one of the best songsters in the city. One way of spotting this bird is to observe its tail movement: It carries its tail very high over the back, frequently lowers it and expands it into a fan, then closes it again and jerks it up over the back.
8. Coppersmith Barbet
This is a common bird found in the urban setting and is difficult to miss! Its bright colours and distinctive call catch the tired city eyes instantly. It is a riot of colours with a crimson forehead and patch on its breast and a vibrant yellow throat. To add to its visibility, it utters a loud metallic, repetitive 'tuk-tuk-tuk', reminiscent of a sound a coppersmith makes while beating a sheet with a hammer; hence its well-thought name!
9. Common Tailorbird
The most intriguing quirk of this bird is that it creates its nest by sewing leaves together with its beak. They are weak fliers, so they prefer to flit between trees and bushes and avoid wide-open spaces. A ubiquitous inhabitant of parks, gardens, and wooded areas, its loud “tuui-tuui…” and “whee-whee…” are often part of the sound of daily life around Mumbai city!
10. Purple Rumped Sunbird
Another glamourous visitor is the Sunbird. They are a kaleidoscope of colours. Endemic to the Indian subcontinent, they are super small in size and mainly feed on nectar. While the males are brightly coloured, the females are well camouflaged. The distinction is chiefly due to the female raising the litter and hence to avoids detection by predators.
So, you can grab a pair of binoculars and some snacks and spend your mornings and evenings, relaxing on your balcony, watching for these winged wonders. Apart from Playing Sports At Home, bird watching is another way to reduce your lockdown blues, all it takes is a few moments to look, listen and love them
Let us know in the comments what are your favourite birds to watch?