Empress Garden, Kavade Mala, Ghorpadi, Pune

Season of bounty!

India as a country is blessed with three seasons and the variations that come along with it. Monsoon in particular is the season of bounty. Kharif crops are sown in the fields, most trees bear fruits, caterpillars take new life forms and there is a general prosperity in nature. But rains have been erratic this year. It did not rain as much in the first half of the season, and now there are heavy rains towards the end. I read in the Book of Indian Birds by Salim Ali that most bird breeding generally occurs in the monsoon because of plentiful resource availability as in the peak insect activity. So, being here at the empress garden I was keeping an eye out for bird nests and little adorable chicks.

To my surprise, a pair of red-whiskered bulbul started making its nest right outside the exhibition hall at a very precarious position that is between a passion flower climber and a pillar. They sure are adventurous I thought to myself. Well, at least they have a roof over their head. Oh, how diligently they worked, gathering each twig and twining it along as they went. At around the same time, a pair of Purple-rumped sunbirds started working on their nest near the pond at the entrance of the center. Every day I would just find a reason to stand out near the pond and observe how patiently the little fritters carried cotton, little feathers, and other nesting material to their half-made nest. The entire time of my observation I kept on thinking about how marvelous nature is. Such tiny birds working so hard against all odds in nature just to raise their future generation and keep the genes alive.

In about a day or two when the nest was complete, the red-whiskered took on the duty of egg incubation. Seeing it sit patiently in the nest made me nostalgic with the thought of how parents take care of their babies day in and day out selflessly. How suddenly one fine day their world starts revolving around the tiny little human being. I realized how we are not that different from other animals and how much ever we try to make that distinction, the similarities are daunting. There is so much in common that we share hence there is so much that we can learn from them. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the eggs to hatch and see what happens next. From the life of birds at Empress Garden, here I’m signing off.

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