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2 May 2008

Pecking order

In my earlier posts I had posted about birds of Mumbai and mentioned how the BHNS or the Mahim Nature Park is a better place than my blog to know the birds of Mumbai.

I am not a bird watcher- defined as ones who go with a pair of binoculars and identify every species by its scientific name- but since I have an interest in the environment I have some knowledge which is largely useless.

When I read about how in recent times the crows are dying mysteriously in large numbers and, sparrows disappearing from the city due to rapid urbanisation and concretisation, I revived a childhood habit of feeding birds on the windowsill. For about a year now, every morning two sparrows, two mynas and two crows (in reverse order) visit at the crack of dawn. What I thought was an innocuous task has turned out to be an experience of great fun and learning. And discipline too! Any one who visits or stays over are also very fascinated.

When I heard this on twitter, I thought I could post some pictures of 'my' birds here.

The sparrows, meek and mild visit last, peck daintily and even wipe their beaks clean on the grill which always makes me laugh.

The mynas, I was taken aback are an aggressive lot. If the window is shut they peck on the glass to 'demand' food.

They also quite look like they apply eye make up early in the morning.

I thought the crows would be bold, but he is quite a scaredy one. Just swoops, gobbles up and flies away to eat at some distance.

I have also learnt not to keep any food at one go. The crow has an ability to stuff it all down its hatch, leaving nothing for the other birds. So I learnt to be a 'waiter' serving three courses, learning the nuances as I go along.

As you can see pigeons are 'banned'. As the owner of this establishment I reserve the right of admission to guests :)

I thought this post would not only share my experiences but also maybe encourage Mumbaikars to think of their feathered friends and do something, even if small. Request the local park or building authorities to install a small bird bath; post a comment on their experiences or,just open the mind to possibilities- which really is all that counts.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful! Such acts of kindness towards our friends on the blue marble are very rare... but they do make a difference!


Anonymous said...

The birds are wonderful. About kindness, I am sure the pigeon I shoo away with such diligence will not agree :(

Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment! -D

itravin said...


The crows are very much a surprise actually.. and mynas even more.. maybe I should start putting some grains and see if they do something other than just run away.. rather fly away...

Deepa said...

When I started, I was very skeptical. Totally surprised with the sparrows for they have truly disappeared in general in Mumbai. But really, grains is what attracts pigeons-do not feed grains. Once I kept some fruit, (Kiwi fruit at that!) on urging by a guest who refused to accept I know my birds food preferences. When they did not eat, I had to hear,your birds are from Lagaan-gawti.LOL

If you are the peaceful types, they will trust you but give them their space. Any creature can be dangerous too and I was quite terrified after Hitchcocks movie Birds.

What saddens me is Mumbai city garden authorities do not do enough to attract nice species and nurture them and so people do not do wrong things such as feed/attract pigeons in any public space.

I am also very sad Mumbai does not have a butterfly garden. It is least effort and so much returns in sheer beauty and colour. I wish I can do something there.

Birds and butterflies play a v.imp role in maintaining ecological balance.

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