How to name it ?

The morning sky was moody. Some days it appeared bright and colorful. On other days, gloomy and cloudy. From where I used to sit in the morning, I could see the sky till the end of Agasthya hills. When we were looking around to buy a house, I had chosen this place because of the view.

It was when I was enjoying the morning breeze that I casually looked up at the ceiling lamp. I don’t know why we had bought it, but it looks like one of those lamps you would see in a church. And then I saw the tail of a bird from the top of the lamp. It was not moving. I called my wife and started scolding her about how careless they were, in having not seen the dead bird lying on top of the lamp.
 My wife had a hearty laugh.
She said  “It is not dead. That is the nest of the bird and it is hatching the eggs”.
How could she be so sure?
“Oh, the bird was here few months back, and flew away with its children”.

Ah, so, that was it. It is a permanent residence of the bird! I was not surprised. We have three bed rooms in the house. My son uses one. The other one, supposed to be our bedroom, was full of clothes, and there was no place left on the bed. My wife was in the process of sorting them out. I had thought of the spare room, and then she told me of the cat which had delivered few days back under the bed. I was not supposed to disturb the cat, and so, I had to sleep on the floor ,on a mat. That was fine too, for a change. Though I put up an effort to fight against her love for animals, which is a bit on the higher side, I secretly admire her kindness. But  hadn’t I placed some restrictions, she would fill the house with stray dogs and cats.

I was curious. I brought a chair and was trying to get a glimpse. One click,  and the bird flew away. It is called “ Thoppi kkili” in our language, because it has something like a cap on its head. From then on, I used to watch its coming and going. At night time, it would come and settle down on the nest and won’t move till morning.

When I came back from my trip to my hometown, I saw the bird coming home with with a large caterpillar bulging in its bill. Once it landed on the lamp, I saw two tiny sets of beaks opening wide for the feed. They had started moving around in the nest and were growing fast. From daylight to dusk, seldom does more than two minutes elapse between feedings. One day morning, I noticed that one of the babies  had fallen down, in to the dome of the lamp and was fluttering its wings. The mama bird flew in from nowhere, and was desperately looking for the missing one and finally found it. She flew frantically around the lamp and soon realized she was incapable of rescuing the baby bird. When she had gone away, I tried to reach the baby bird inside the dome, and the one sitting on top flew away !. It  landed on the floor of the car porch. Within seconds, the mama bird appeared and was furious at me and trying to attack me. The mama took her baby to a safe place on to one of the plants in the pot. I managed to get the other baby out of the dome and placed it safely on the nest.

I saw the father bird when I was looking for the kids. He was sitting silently at a distance on a tree top, keeping watch over the mother and kids. My wife told me he always sits outside, on the roof top or on an adjacent tree top, to watch over the mother and kids and to warn if enemies are around. The mother bird chirps all the while, and is musical. Although the male and female birds look alike, after watching them a while, I could tell them apart by their attitude. When feeding the young, the female goes straight to the nest. A few seconds before she arrives, the babies inside rev up the volume of their chattering. That tips me off to look up from my chair in time to see the mother  land at the top of the lamp and disappear inside the nest. As they grew, the nestlings made more and more noise. They started poking their white flanged bills out of the nest, opening them wide to receive whatever prey their mother would bring.

I saw them all on another day in our neighboring compound. On the wire fence by my neighbor's yard, teetered the two baby birds, their parents on either side. That house was safer, it was not occupied.

I don’t know how to name it. We say only human have intelligence. If it is so, I think love is beyond intelligence. With such tiny brains, they have marvelous instincts. The bird couple has been always together from the time my wife had seen them. At least, they have raised two sets of kids. I don’t know if they argue and fight, the way we do. About where to go for lunch and dinner, and where to make the home and settle down. But I have seen their mutual  commitment. Ornithologists believe that they have the same habits of love ,cheating and divorce,as we do.They have jealousy, and there are home wrecker females among them too.

Did they learn it from bird watchers?


  1. ha haa so sweet!
    ..I am absolutely marvelled by the creator who makes every tiny thing to move and be safe in their place with those little instincts given...I had couple of birds on Christmas wreathe laying eggs every was like maternity home..and then flew ..every year a new bird...
    ..I love the pictures posted here.. and birdie in the nest!

  2. The last sentence in your post first,"They have jealousy, and there are home wrecker females among them too". I wish it was not so,my understanding was that this type was confined only to human beings.Poor avian!

    Doc,I could feel the panoramic view from your house. Though it was dark and night the feel of a scenic picture by day was felt.

    Coming to the unenviable part of the Cat being voted to enjoy precedence over you is quite amusing and enjoyable. Lucky feline. If your wife may think of hauling you to the SPCA , why not try something like SPCH,( Society for the prevention of cruelty against husbands)? Ha we all can be founder members.

  3. Dr.Antony, Very sweet post...wonderful narration with caring observations..beautiful sunrise pictures.

    Birds make wonderful will miss them badly once they fly away.Bird made smart choice to make nest in the upper portion of the lamp. Currently I am enjoying company of sparrow family and this is their second year and third round of raising babies. I have similar observations and at every chance I am trying to capture the moments..nest is built outside the main door and I have to take pictures from inside through glass patch of the door. They are extremely smart to feel my presence..the moment I stand near door, mama sparrow stops feeding and fly away and just ten days old babies duck deep inside the nest. Last year they didn't scare much but this year they feel more insecure if they feel me around. They show amazing team and care. Once these four babies grow up I will post pictures on my blog.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I appreciate for your wonderful post with lovely pictures and nice description. I liked it very much as you have presented very nicely with step-by-step pictures of the sweet little birds. I am fond of sparrows but miss them as they are not in Australia. But in Perth I can find lots of variety of birds like Rainbow lorikeet, Magpie, Kookabura, Parrots, Cockatoo etc and all are so nice and cute that I spend some time with them.
    You are welcome at my new posts-

  5. I totally agree with your lines "Love is beyond intelligence" ...Touching post!

  6. Very sweet. Hope the birds dont have jealousy. Yup love is beyond intelligence it seems.

    And about the cat and her kittens given preference, thats cuter :)

    The view looks gorgeous from your terrace; but couldnt gather more due without light

  7. How nice to be able to observe the parenting of the feathered kind. I'm sure their maternal instincts of caring and loving are as strong as ours. Ha! ha! once the cat has finished taking up 'lodging', you can have the room all to yourself!!

  8. Hi @Doc! Nice to see you back and thank you for the pictures. I have to come back to read the post as I am running short on time.

    Just wanted to say a quick hello...

  9. Doc, The bird is 'Red Whiskered Bulbul'. Congratulations for your initiation into ornithology.The basic rule is never to disturb a nest or touch the nestlings, because of the risk that the parents may abandon the little ones.

    Hope this will inspire you to do some real bird-watching in Dubai!

  10. wow that is one of loveliest story i heard doc,thank you so much for beautiful sharing ,pics are truly amazing,

    in previous spring a pair of such tiny birds made their beautifully designed nest beside the wall where a flower plant is places,it was right under the branches of it and so tiny ,
    i took few shots of their life including hatching eggs,feeding the female bird and then little babies shouting for food,

    such amazing scenes deliver the strange joy to heart.

  11. doc, many comments posted in this post by many others have vanished!!!

  12. Nice story. I have birds too at home. Did you know that the females are very aggressive in birds and the males are meak :).

  13. Thats a Nice post ! U people are so kind..

  14. How cozy the nest looks.

    It is always touching to see mother nature in action.. thanks for posting and let us enjoy it too...

  15. Home for the feathered and furry kind. How nice!

  16. :-)
    i again pass the same comment as i passed few days back
    ''A doctor and a nature lover and sympathetic towards birds..strange and interesting'':-)

  17. Nice write up and nice story... May be their brains are not so small when compared to the size of their body.

  18. @Balan
    Yes, I didnt know that at first. Then my wife told me.I went near the nest only to rescue the one which fell down in to the lamp.Bird watching ! I love it,but for the lack of time.
    @ Baili
    I am not that good at photography.The problem is because you cannot go nearer.But it is real fun watching them.
    Yes,I had noticed some comments including yours had vanished.There was some problem with the blogger and they had informed about it.
    I guessed so.We have them among us too!
    These are helpless beings.And they look so beautiful.Anyone with a heart would help them.
    The nest is so perfect.And is strong enough.It is amazing how they build it from nothing !
    Are you back yet? How was your trip?
    @Heavenly muse
    Life is full of surprises !
    Could be.But, it is not that developed nervous system.But astonishing reflexes and instincts.Some of them have unbelievable survival skills.

  19. @Doc! That was an interesting read. Thank you for sharing the pictures too.

  20. We have also opened a maternity ward for pigeons in one of our balconies. We had a couple of unused chairs, an old bucket from my father in law's era and a few items that we clung on to just for sentimental value. Pigeons do not build nests but lay eggs beneath the chair and the bucket. One set flies off and another couple move in. Only recently my husband cleared the balcony and no birds come to check out the availability if a safe corner to lay eggs. And my husband feels bad for them and plans to put back the chairs and the pail!!
    Nice read.enjoyed it.

  21. How beautifully atmospheric are those pictures of the sky? Many thanks for yet another wonderful story.

  22. Your photos are wonderful and I really did enjoy the tale of the birds who nested in your lamp. I hope you are now back in your own bed :-). Prolonged time of the floor isn't great for bodies over 10 years of age. Have a lovely evening. Blessings...Mary

  23. This is very interesting post. I love birds and like stories about them. Nesting birds are very protective and some will peck you if you get too close. Thank you for caring, have a nice week.


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