bird watching

You make me want to dance: Owlets

I have a sneaking suspicion that birds dance more than we may assume. Especially when they think that nobody else is around. I may have seen Owlets in action, without their knowledge. I can’t be sure. They may have just been belligerent about being spotted. Perhaps they had food poisoning. I am not an ornithologist. Or a reasonable person.

Besides, I don’t know anything about dancing. My left foot thinks for itself. We haven’t been on the same page for a decade. The right one has been fractured multiple times. Since 2012, it has suffered three hairline fractures, a shattered ankle, and two broken toes. But it’s no excuse. I have always danced with the grace of a rubber chicken impaled on the horn of an angry rhino.

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He’s a family guy: Great Indian Hornbill

It’s been 72 hours since I spotted Great Indian Hornbills in Valparai for the fourth time. A few things have changed in my life since then.

It’s as though someone turned my life’s volume knob way down. The bedroom walls are starting to whisper back. Last night, we watched each other peel in strange places. It was unsettling in a sexy way. Or vice-versa. I am unsure. Either way, we didn’t make eye-contact in the morning.

But there’s no confusion in my mind about how it feels to be close to Great Indian Hornbills.

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A case for the commoners: Red-Wattled Lapwing

She’s not a canvas
for the weak to
paintbrush their dreams in,
she’s a coat of paint
for the weary
to re-imagine the world with

Many summers ago, I was at the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, minding my own business and that of a few passerine birds. Suddenly a shrill sound – tee-tee-tiri – started echoing in the air; as though a celestial object was trying to connect with my brain.

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To catch a flycatcher

Birds are potted plants for rent;
Even if their terrace gardens may change,
the colour of water that kisses their roots
will remain the same.

Old World Flycatchers (Eeppidippan) are beautiful passerine birds. They are notoriously difficult to photograph. It took me about a year to spot the Asian Paradise Flycatcher. The Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher and Black-And-Orange Flycatcher continue to be disastrously fleet-footed subjects of mine.

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Weeding out the gardener

His garden
flowers grew,
like shadows
caught by
sundials in
a playful mood,
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