Monday, August 16, 2010

Choti Chidiya

Hi there I am Choti Chidiya. Yes that is my picture you see there below. Don’t I look pretty ? Well that is what the people in this household say. 

I am new to this place. In fact I was looking for a place to build my nest and lay the eggs and this thick foliage of the money plant looked like a perfect place for it. I understand that one of my cousins made a bid to build a nest (just three meters away) but I presume the ovulation did not take place. Yeah we birds too have our problems.

You can see her in the photograph above, the nest is on the left and she is on the right. Well that was two months ago.
From the time I started building my nest, there is this man from the house who has been taking a special interest in my proceedings (lets call him Mr Haddock or Mr H in short) 
I found that he has been constantly observing me to see how I am building the nest and what material I am using. He was fascinated by the way I tied the edge of the nest to the vine. We have to be very careful, after all we don’t want the whole thing to just fly away with some strong wind. We even make our nest semi porous, in case water gets in, it has to drain out quickly. Then the bed of the nest has to be almost flat (and not concave) so that all the eggs get equal amount of heat while I sit on the clutch.
While I was building the nest, my partner was always around, keeping me company, helping me in getting the soft twigs, giving me alarm calls when any one came close to the nest. But now a days he is not to be seen. Looks like he too is not perturbed and has left me in the care of Mr H and family. Hope he will turn up once the eggs hatch.  (I need a helping hand for feeding)
Finally the day has arrived and I have completed laying my three eggs. It was at the rate of one per day. But I don’t sit on them till all three are laid, otherwise there would be unequal heating resulting in unequal hatching and that is going to cause some unruly behavior in the nest when the kids are out. I could have laid more eggs but giving equal heat and hatching them would have been a problem.

There you can see the three cuties. Don’t you love the colour of them? I mean the colour of the shell? Ahem, Mr H is getting bolder. I know he clicked this when I went out for my morning ablutions. Well we don’t exactly brush our teeth and wash the face in the morning, but once its dawn it is nice to fly out and stretch your legs, I mean wings, and catch some fresh insects and be back within five minutes or so. And daily when I am back I see Mr H with his camera clicking away. I know he means no harm, so I allow him to finish his session.
Today I observed Mrs H with her camera trying to click me in the nest. (how many cameras do they have?)  In fact it was she who christened me as Choti Chidiya. I am actually the Red Vented Bulbul. 
Usually we build the nest higher. Lucky for them that I build my nest at 5 ft from the ground level. At this height all of them can have a peek whenever they want. There are reasons why we build our nests high. Imagine if mine was at ground level, and when the eggs hatch, the little ones would just step out and start walking around and for the rest of their lives they would be just walking around. So when its at a high level, at the right time we just shove them out and they have to spread their wings to avoid a fall and that’s it . . . . . they just soar away. And from then on they are on their own catching insects and fending for themselves. Life is pretty simple with us. 
Ok now I see the Grandpa and Grandma moving around in the garden plucking some leaves here, straightening that plant there. When they come close to my nest they are extra cautious, not to disturb me. After that they settle down in their easy chair.
Oh then there is this extra tall guy (must be Mr H’s son) He too comes and peeks but from a respectful distance. Most of the time I see him dashing in and out of the terrace with a football and shin guard and stockings and what not. Must be a football player.

From my nest I can see them sitting relaxed on the terrace. Mrs H is busy cleaning fish. They all like fish, especially sea food.  
Now a days they are strictly avoiding fish. Not that they are turning vegetarian, but just a precautionary measure. With all that oil floating around in the Arabian Sea no one wants to take a chance.
Grandpa is reading something from a small book, looks like the Reader’s Digest. He is explaining to Grandma something about guns and the US. He says that a platoon of US soldiers ambushed a group of Taliban fighters and later when they recovered the ammo they found that the Taliban were using US made artillery !!  This sounds interesting. Must have a closer look at that Digest. (with my light weight body, I can hover around any where)

That gun looks funny.  But why do they make guns?  to kill each other ?   for what ?  All this is very depressing. Like I said, life is pretty simple with us, till they started writing poetry like “Who killed cock Robin”    .. . . . . .  .  . “I said the sparrow, with my bow and arrow” Sigh. . .  ..the ideas they come up with…. introducing violence among the birds too. 

Oh that reminds me I have to keep turning the eggs from time to time. Don’t want the chicks to stick on the shell, and turning gives heat on all sides of the egg.
This is a good neighbourhood. Calm and peaceful with lots of trees (which means lots of insects) Had a quick aerial survey yesterday. Some school kids were singing the national anthem, after hoisting a colourful flag. They all looked so happy. 

Heard some one mention something about Independence day……. a free country. It must be nice to live in a free country. Do you know there are some countries where we were banned. Yes the Red Vented Bulbul were exterminated in Auckland .  . . . . but more on that later

Right now I have to get back to the nest and keep a watch out for that Pied Crested Cuckoo. Some times they act smart and lay their eggs in our nest. What is commonly termed  as brood parasite.
Well, as Mr H has clicked a lot of pics here is one more of mine ..... this is to hold your attention till I am back with the continuation, when the eggs are hatched.


Suburban Girl said...

That's one busy bird. The eggs are pretty.

Gauri Gharpure said...

Very detailed post, was great fun reading and seeing the photos..

Summer Ross said...

Beautiful bird, great character write up. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

What are you eating if you can't have fish? What a shame.

Great post.

Jeannette said...

I am glad that communing with nature is keeping pace with the troubles life presents. Thank you for this bird's eye view of coping!

Arundhati said...

Informative and very entertaining

Fresh Local and Best said...

These are such beautiful birds. I like that photo of the eggs. I agree with your viewpoint on the guns.

Anuradha Shankar said...

wonderful! loved reading this! and you managed to get so many side issues into this one! great job!

S. Susan Deborah said...

Another delightful read. I remember the song which was played in DD those days: "Ek chidiya, anek chidiyayein." You are fortunate enough to have a nest at your place. These days habitat fragmentation has made sparrows disappear from our houses and cities. Sad, indeed. The way this post had an assortment of things like nuts in a fruit cake, made me happy to read this.

P. S: Isn't Haddock the name of a fish? I had that in London (Fish and chips).

Joy always,

Atul said...

... another 'insight' from Mr.H ... :-)

J_on_tour said...

Great pictures of the birds

Latha Nair said...

That was a delightful post.
Loved every word of it
and the pictures too
Waiting for more..

Shalini said...

Such a cute post! The birdie seems nice...
And this is the first time I have read a "personal post" by you! :D
Waiting for the next one...:)

LisaDay said...

What beautiful eggs.


BK Chowla, said...

Very nice and well expressed post.I wish , you had made it shorter, it is too long.

Cezar and Léia said...

This bird is adorable, very interesting post!I like a lot the eggs pictures!

Sri said...

Zoe, nice post. Still envy your terrace a lot :-)

Deepa said...

What a lovely post, one of your best!

Unknown said...

A tale of Choti Chidiya - The Celeb and Mr. Haddock - the Paparazzi! :)

Anonymous said...

Nicely written from the birds point of view. Unusually entertaining and arresting details.

Leena Thomas.

Nayantara Sam said...

Lovely photos! said...


Kavita Saharia said...

A lovely story ...very refreshing,perfect for a Saturday morning.I am going to read this to my kids this evening.If only more people were conscious of little beautiful things happening around us ,this world would have been a better place.Thanks.

Pink Mango Tree said...

Nice pictures! Anyways, glad that they are on the trees and not like the pigeons who have attacked my balcony! Grrr... how I hate them shitting all over! Yuck..!!! :(

Flip Side - We have cut down their trees to build 9 storied apartment complexes, where else do they go?!

And there is no solution to this! :(

Indrani said...

OooooH! Such wonderful shots of the bird, and the chicks? You didn't get them?

Teté M. Jorge said...

Hello! Thank you for visiting me! I loved Choti! How beautiful and charming he is.


raji said...

hi ..ur such a gud photographer .. i like the way u captured the clicks of those eggs..!

Anonymous said...

I did not know that they turned the eggs!
Loved the tale of the little birdie. And lovely pics. Thanks for sharing. :)

Haddock said...

@ Rebecca
Oh yes busy round the clock

@ Gauri Gharpure
That was my idea, to make it interesting.

@ Summer Ross
Thanks Ross. Good to know that you enjoyed it.

@ Alex
Ha ha like that, some times it is good to be Vegan.

@ Jeannette
You are right. Keeping peace with nature is keeping pace with life.

@ Arundhati
That’s the idea, two in one.
@ Fresh Local and the Best
Many liked the Egg photo. (the gun message was subtle)

@ Anu
Thanks for that. There were many more side issues that I have cut out.

@ Susan Deborah
Yes Haddock is a fish, but I adopted the name from my fav character in the comic book Tin Tin.
I do remember that ad in DD

@ Atul
more insight coming

@ J on tours

@ Latha Nair
More is coming in the second and third installments

@ Shalini
Thanks Shalini. The second volume is out and the third on the way

@ LisaDay
Found that all like the eggs

@ B K Chowla
Yes with all the tit bits it got extended

@Cezar & Leia
Thanks for that. More coming in the next two episodes

@ Sri
Hi Sri, I remember that.

@ Deepa Krishna
Thanks for that Deepa.

@ Ajay Jose Paul
That would have been a good title

@ Leena Thomas
Yes the details are the things that make it interesting

@ Nayantara Sam

@ Harman

@ Kavita
Hope your kids enjoyed it.
The second and the third ones are coming

@ $$
What you said is true. We are taking up their space

@ Indrani
Yes I got the chicks too, they are in the next two episodes

@ teca
Good to know that you enjoyed it

@ raji
It was risky clicking that

@ Choco
Yes turning the eggs is something I really saw.

Sandhya said...

Enjoyed reading the story about the chidiya birds. This looks like a detailed documentary of the birds. The narration is superb.

Thank you, Haddock.

sangeeta said...

Apart from the lovely narration i was just spell bound with the did you manage to click so many clear pics ??
Many birds have made their nests in my garden over the years but i have never managed to click them so beautifully...

i see myself coming again n again to see just those pretty birds in a family....

Haddock said...

@ Sandhya
Thanks Sandhya. Keeping the narration live (and simple) makes it appealing.

@ Sangeeta
Thanks Sangeeta.
As for the photographs, I follow my own rule of trial and error. One has to click a lot to get one good picture. So for every picture that you see in the post, there are about 20 to 30 discarded.

Actually this Choti Chidiya has done a lot of posing for me, just to keep me away from the nest :-)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful, I think this is a beautiful story not just for us adults :) but for children to understand about birds.
DebbieDee :)

Haddock said...

Who knows , I may come up with a book for school kids :-)