Archive

Birds and Animals

speaking_treeCome October and a great many indistinct trees in the plains of India seem to start speaking! Warblers arrive from the hills and countries up north and set trees abuzz with their constant, muffled calls. One of the most common warblers to visit the plains of north India in winters is Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca, the call of which has been portrayed in this animated graphic. Lesser Whitethroats continuously move and hop around the trees they visit and while at it, utter their call incessantly. Listening to their soft calls in peaceful surroundings is an ethereal experience.

In its quest to become a developed country, one area where India clearly lacks is solid waste management, to which increasing importance is being given in most developed counties. In India, unsegregated waste is carelessly thrown near street side waste bins from where it is collected by municipal trucks and usually transferred to landfill sites. Birds and animals feed on openly lying waste and poor, informal wastepickers often dangerously rummage through it and salvage some of it for recycling. Proper management of waste is a strong indicator of a responsible and developed society; to become a developed country in that sense, India has a long way to go. (Bottom right photograph: garbage collection in Sweden. Photographer: Niklas Johnsson, curtsey Stock Xchng. Top left photograph: a garbage collection bin outside a posh South Delhi neighbourhood.)

Come April and this Bougainvillea covered tree near our house would play host to some very special guests. Rosy Starlings (Sturnus roseus), birds that winter in India and go back to Eastern Europe in summer, pass through north and north west India on their way back to Europe. A few birds would stop by at this tree every year, entertain us with their constant ‘chatter’ and charm us with their beauty. So for a few days every year, this tree would take on the role of a Transit Lounge!