Who Owned the Morning Hues? Well, She Did.
A Story about a Mother Bird Red-Whiskered Bulbul
By Chandana Chandrappa*
In our little urban garden, there was a Christmas tree. A bird couple came to visit our garden on a beautiful day. They were frequently seen on the Christmas tree. We were soon astounded by the nesting on the tree‘s lower branch. Red-whiskered Bulbul constructs a soft fiber-striped open cup nest of tiny roots, sticks, and leaves. The nest is usually found in a lower branch of a tree that is normally enclosed by an overlying bush of leaves.
Red-whiskered Bulbul in the nest
The bird pair built the nest with a lot of effort and faith for their two young birds to grow up safely. Mother bird hatched her two baby eggs with spirit full of warmth. The parent birds bringing food from afar for the babies was fantastic! The newly hatched little birds are blind and featherless. Parent birds are the only source of wisdom, faith, and guidance for the babies.
“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” – J. M. Barrie
“RED CHEEKS AND A SPIKY HAIRSTYLE“
“Hey Hat Man!”
It is a slender medium-sized bird (20cm) with a conspicuous white patch on cheeks and an exquisite black crest. It is dark brown above and white beneath. The vent is ruby red, and the beak and legs are black. Bulbul, the Red-whiskered, is a lively bird that sings “witiwet” in descending musical whistled phrases. Warbling sounds and wild chatter can also be heard. Their rich, warm calls are especially loud and resonant. Red-whiskered Bulbul performs direct flight with rapid wing beats, but it also has bouncing flight, like a woodpecker.
The female lays 2 pink-white eggs with brown spots. Both parents share the incubation period, which lasts about 12–14 days. Parents raise and feed their children. During initial days after giving birth, the chicks are naked and have their eyes closed. After 14–18 days of hatching, they fledge. They return to the nest for food for a few days before becoming self-sufficient.
The chicks are fed with wholesome food comprising insects and worms. These chicks grow up very fast, and within a few days, one can see them flying off!
Babies of Red-whiskered Bulbul
Things are different during nesting seasons. During breeding and chick rearing, parent birds must be very cautious. I had a fantastic opportunity to observe Red-whiskered Bulbul breeding and chick raising up-close. We had observed Crows and Koel assaulting the newborns most of the time, but the parent birds were very cautious and struck predators if they got too close to their babies or eggs.
Normally, birds have a difficult time during these seasons. Photographers find it fascinating to photograph the activity of birds. Different territorial birds such as Myna, Sunbirds, and Tailor birds assisted the Red-whiskered Bulbul while non-territorial birds attempted to attack the young.
Red-whiskered Bulbul knows how to divert predators’ attention away from the young ones. It acts injured and falls down, then makes a loud noise to divert predator’s attention away from its children. Once the predator is diverted, Bulbul returns to the nest to guard the young ones.
Nesting is known to take place from August to March, probably the year excluding the wettest months (June and July) of the Southwest monsoon and the hottest months – April and May.
However, this year’s nesting took place in June, which isn’t optimal for the species. These images were captured during the first week of June. Climate change and extreme weather conditions result in environmental changes that have a negative impact on our ecosystem.
“When a BIRD is alive, it eats ants… When the bird is dead, ants eat the bird! Time and circumstances can change at any time… Let’s not devalue or hurt anyone in life… We may be powerful today… But remember, TIME is more powerful; one tree makes a million match sticks… But when the time comes…only one match stick is enough to burn a million trees…let’s be good and do good earthlings.” – Unknown
“Save Birds, Save Our Mother Earth”
Being a small-town girl (Chamarajanagar district, to be specific), someone who did not know about birding, yet here I am in the present, passionately understanding and learning anything and everything about birding. This didn’t come all along in a day – it took patience, time, energy, and dedication to come through this path. With this note, I would like to make an effort to spread knowledge about bird watching with my personal views.
Hope you enjoyed reading it!
*Author is a student of architecture and a passionate birder, who likes interacting with nature through birds. For more interesting wildlife photographs, do check her Instagram profile ‘@avis_birder’.