Spotted Owlets, Pulicat

Sweet spotted child of mine

I often wonder if birds think that I am a stalker. A person with a fetish for voyeurism. Look at the facts. I follow them around. I try to escape their line of vision so that they don’t fly away. Then, I photograph them before coming back home to admire them.

I post it on restricted groups across social media. Engage others in the stories that led me to them.  And hope that they will come back for more.

I feel like the gatekeeper of an underground pornography racket. Excepting that, nobody is paying me for it.

Spotted Owlet, Pulicat

Last summer, I spent about half-an-hour, following a pair of Spotted Owlets, at Palaverkadu. They were about 300 meters away from me. Every time I inched towards them, they would find a different spot to perch upon.

I gave up and returned to my vehicle. A few minutes passed by and I saw, through the corner of my eye, the owls fly past me. I poked my head out, like a dog on a family road trip. They were much larger than those I had seen earlier.

I got out of the car and looked around. I spotted an owl sitting pretty atop an abandoned water-motor shed. And one more perched on a cement slab above it. They were staring at me, arching their heads and sizing me up.

Right then, a pair of juvenile owlets flew in, landing on the window railing. They were soon followed by yet another pair. Now, there were six of them.

I ducked behind a mound. I didn’t want them to notice me.

But no matter where I stood, I couldn’t escape their gaze. They didn’t seem to mind as they went about their businesses. I couldn’t be sure, though.

Spotted Owlets, Pulicat

I feel guilty about being a birder at times. Especially when birds abandon their meals upon intrusion. Or when they go berserk, trying to frighten me away from nests. It breaks my heart that they feel vulnerable and uncomfortable around me.

But it would be silly and selfish to expect them to treat me without caution. It is their ability to respond to precautionary intuitions that have helped them survive.

No matter how much I care about birds, I am still a human being. I am a threat. I am a creep.

(Photographs: Palaverkadu)

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68 comments

  1. This is beautiful, and some of the comments remind me to be grateful for the green spaces all around me even in this rust-belt city. I know how you felt. Not twenty minutes ago I was talking to a little house wren, begging her to finish building her nest in the house we put up. I swore we wouldn’t let anything hurt her. I’m glad I’m not the only crazy one.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ha! We are a tad creepy, aren’t we? I too would have wanted to do the happy dance for that awesome find (and photos ta boot!!), but I think it would be best for everyone involved if I kept my clothes on. Great pictures, Christy. I wish we were nearby enough that we could all meet up for some birding adventures.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. There are always multiple angles; the grub dinner could have been contaminated with pesticide, or, you could have been preparing the nest bound mother for an up-coming snake.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have often wondered the same thing–serial bird stalkers, yikes! And I’ve always been drawn to those species who seem as curious about us as we about them. Where I live, that animal is the seal. I expect one to whip out small, waterproof binocs one of these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I hope their curiosities about us are satiated with some positivity somewhere somehow. Love the way seals belly flop and clap, haven’t had the privilege yet though. Binoculars unfortunately don’t work for me, my eyes haven’t figured them out in decades!

      Like

  5. “It breaks my heart that they feel vulnerable and uncomfortable around me.”

    Liked this one. I have always been fascinated by birds. During childhood, anytime we had bird nests inside our home, which we always had…I used to save a portion of my meal – say some chapatti pieces or rice – so as to keep it near the nests as it would save them all the effort of fetching food for their little ones. Am not sure it was right of me to do that or how much they ate of it but I would climb all the way up to put a plastic tumbler I had esp. for this purpose.
    Recently, I have learnt a knack of taming them, not as in keeping them as pets, but made stray birds feel comfortable in my presence. Once they know me, they seem to be waiting for me every morning, making loud noise asking for easy food.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing this! So lovely to hear instances when birds feel comfortable around us. I hear that feeding young ones may not be a good idea, but during summer – it is perfectly alright to help out the adults find food and water. That’s quite some knack you have, you lucky birder! I can’t wait to read more of your experiences with them. I can imagine the beautiful sight it must be!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey I’m no birder as such 🙂 and have no knowledge about exquisite species of birds, like you happen to have. I give food to some common sparrows and pigeons around my house and they come back asking for more. Another one is…Indian Myna. In Australia no one likes them so I better not be too fond of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anyone who cares about birds is a birder in my book, dear friend! And don’t worry about liking Mynahs, I know plenty of lovely people who love them. You are in good company.

        Like

  6. The birds are adorable!
    Though you may be right about their perception of us.

    I had this weird experience with a black kite (at least I think it was a black kite. It certainly looked like one).
    I used to live on the 17th floor of an apartment building in Kolkata and sometimes this hawk would perch on the ledge outside my window. One day I gave the kite some cream crackers because I had nothing else. And the funny this is that it ate it. I checked up on the net and cream crackers were apparently not part of the staple diet of black kites. I didn’t want to make it dependent on me so I didn’t feed it everyday. But it was nice how it never tried to nip me or anything while I was putting out the cream crackers. Maybe it ate them just to be polite. I swear, I felt a connection with that bird.

    And I love the Guns N’ Roses reference too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you that you stopped giving him cream crackers, the one time thingy qualifies as an adorable experience. Black Kites in Chennai will soon replace crows as as the alpha invasive species, they are relying on garbage way way too much.

      Thanks Amrita!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooooo thanks for posting this.. I really loved the glimpse of the owlets in your previous post and was glad to see one entirely dedicated to them.. They are such cute adorable birds.. Great shots of them.. 👌still going gaga over them.. 😍😍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the title. xD Brilliant reference.

    THEIR STARES ARE SO ADORABLE! Even though, you feel guilty about intruding, those pictures are amazing! Maybe it was a good thing that you didn’t go about ripping your clothes off, haha. xD

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The little owls are adorable. I was equally captivated by the setting. The way the grey of the owl’s plumage is picked up by the cement between the warm red bricks, the green sprigs softening what might otherwise have been a parched-looking place, and the pale pink flowers against the darkness inside the water-motor shed. Why do you insist in blog post after blog post that you’re no photographer? 🙂 You have an instinct for it, a third eye 🙂
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and your thoughts on stalking. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, doc. I love the description you came up with for the photographs. Beautiful!

      I am humbled that you think I have an eye for photography. I suppose I believe that luck has a far greater role than one might assume.

      Thanks again!

      Like

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