Saturday, March 22, 2014

Two birds; two stories

I am new to bird watching and I am glad to say I am enjoying it. In the last two months I have come across more than 40 species of avian diversity. From the smallest of humming birds to the biggest, the Cormorants; the avian world is beautiful and beyond any comparisons. In recent times, I am very fond to two birds; sparrows as a whole and a common mynah particularly the one I had recently discovered that had a deformed upper mandible and I named him “Machindra”.
Couple of days back, we observed World Sparrow Day at Chisopani JHS, where I am a primary school teacher. The programme was a successful one and we saw large numbers of students participating at the event. From a bird hunter to surrendering their catapults was itself an achievement of the event. There were students who had been hunting birds in the wild for more than three years. To hear those students saying that they were wrong in doing so and they will in near future protect those harmless birds tell us the success of our programme. We might have been late in introducing such kinds of programme but it is for sure our intention and motive has hit the right cord. It was only during the awareness interaction between the resource persons and the students I came to know most of the beautiful birds and beautifully singing birds belong to male category.
Little did I have thought that the concrete jungles we human are creating are one of the reasons for the downfall of the House Sparrow locally called “Bhangerra” (Nepali language). That small creature likes wooden houses and live in the cavities of old houses which are now very hard to find. Due to lack of house factors, the house sparrow’s eggs gets destroy and their population is in a decrease. Today’s highly qualified civilization do not prefer to catch hold on nestling materials being dropped at their houses or gardens, is the other reason that people have left appreciating these small birds  Feeding sparrows are limited to lesser people compared to few decades back. There are various other reasons for the downfall of sparrow population but I am sure we all need to come together and save this small creature for the survival of our environment, for the balancing of the nature. Why not support these birds by having a bird nest and bird feeders at your house?
Few days back I came across a strange looking Common Mynah (“rupp-pee” as we call it in Nepali) at the verandah of my home, surprisingly its upper mandible had scrolled towards sky. I found it very strange and close to her was another rupp-pee walking side by side. I could not believe that the other bird was feeding grains to the malformed one. Amazingly I came to learn from source that male Common Mynahs are larger in size compared to the female. I found that normal looking Common Mynah’s bill was shorter than the deformed bird. To my notice, the deformed bird was larger than the other bird when together. So, does that mean a female bird was feeding the male one!!
The deformed bird visited me yesterday and since then I had given him (though still confused with its gender) a name “Machindra” that means mysterious. Several questions of how (!) raised within my small mind and believe me the bird seems so healthy despite its abnormality. I saw no sign of abnormality affecting him. I saw him walking perfectly, scratching his dorsal part as any other bird does and even recorded its high-pitched scream. Being a nature lover Machindra has caught my fancy and everyday in the morning I try to look for him, expecting something different to watch! Bird watching is fun and it is a pleasurable experience, do try it….!!

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