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Birds of Paradise

Tags: bird fruit tree
It is late in the afternoon. As I sit on the porch to savour this beautiful moment of calm stillness, soaking in the intensely beautiful greenery all around, a lot of movements catch my eye. It is magical and picturesque, to say the least - like a silent motion picture abuzz with countless characters in perfect harmony. With the sun preparing its descent, long creeping shadows fall across the expanse. There is a mild breeze, and it is quite cold this winter day. What appears to be a Honey Buzzard, one of the many species of raptors found in this region, circles overhead calling out intently, mimicking the cry of a kitten. A restless pair of Racket-tailed Drongos flitter about trying to catch insects mid-flight, putting up a spectacular dance of sorts in the air. Warblers, colourful and in plenty, hop about in unison, like a well-choreographed troupe of performers milling about to silent orchestration. Scaly-breasted Munias, an entire community of them, have descended on the wayward grassy patch, diligently scouring it and feeding on grass seeds.

Not far away, a pair of Sunbirds flitter about on the bushy Hibiscus plant, constantly hovering about near the flowers and drilling tiny holes on them in a dexterous effort to extract nectar. Surely, modern-day aviation must have designed the intricacies of mid-air refuelling, learning the ropes from these wonderful birds. A Vernal Hanging Parrot arrives to perch on a Banana plant. For a moment, it does absolutely nothing except to slowly tilt its head in a comical motion. Having satisfied itself, it ambles its way, rather clumsily, to the large unripe cluster of fruits. However, the fruits are not its objective. The heart-shaped crimson-coloured inflorescence, or the 'banana-heart', is what this creature is after. Settling down on the edge in a precarious balance, it begins a meticulous process of tearing away the bracts and extracting nectar.

Meanwhile, on the Silver Oak tree, a family of Scarlet Minivets, bright orange and yellow, are milling about, hopping across branches. They are not alone! Unperturbed by their going about, a flock of Magpie Robins dart to the ground below and make off to the tree, with insects, where they can devour them. It appears to be some sort of a merry-go-round with these radiant white and black creatures jumping about and flying back to their perches of safety and repeating themselves endlessly. Elsewhere, a funny looking White-cheeked Barbet descends on a Papaya tree and investigates the possibility of cutting up a fruit. But, the tender fruit is not ripe yet and the bird abandons its endeavour and flies away, perhaps to locate another possibility.

The neighbouring coffee estate abounds with hectic activity. A Greater Coucal is noisily foraging in the undergrowth. It hops about in a very unbirdlike manner and its striking red eyes stare at me ominously before satisfying itself of the inconsequential nature of my being. Not far away, an extended family of noisy Red-whiskered and Black-collared Bulbuls are enjoying themselves in the bird bath. Vying ardently to secure a moment longer at the bath, they fight and scramble among themselves causing a roisterous ruckus, while a more gentle and well-mannered pair of spotted doves walk about on the courtyard, nibbling scattered grain. And, there are sparrows! Where couldn't they be! A crew of sparrows has perched assertively on prime spots of real-estate - the bushy juvenile Mango tree in the courtyard, the White Bauhinia, the electricity line, and wherever 'sparrowly' possible. From their vantage sit-out, they scurry about to gather grain or seeds and aggressively drive away all competition - often, many times their size!

But, unbeknown to them all is a pair of intent eyes, regarding every move with malevolent glare and discerning these happenings as if to be ready and to pounce on an unsuspecting visitor, like a blitzkrieg! However, on this pristine day, there would be no casualties. His Royal Majesty, Lord Fudicus Cattus Fudicus, aka the Mighty Lord Puddix, the benevolent ruler of the stately provinces of Wayanad, and of our humble home  - the friendly (and opportunistic) neighbourhood tabby is satiated after a veritable meal of leftover fish heads. He is no mood for ambush and so, his subjects, our winged visitors, have survived to live another day, in what is surely paradise regained!

This post first appeared on Redefining Oblivion © ®, please read the originial post: here

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Birds of Paradise


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