This bird was literally having his Baby’s Day out moment. Read about it in the blog 🙂
Summer 2020 is over and the monsoon has arrived. Still no sign of Covid-19 leaving us. I think it’s just the new way of life now, we’ll have to live with it. The lockdown eased up for a while after an entire Summer, in the first week of June. I hadn’t left my house even once for around three months, for the first time in my life. When life was normal, I hardly ever used to be at home. I’m an overly extroverted person and this sitting at home for months, literally pressing the pause button of life was driving me crazy. June came and I finally stepped out of my house for the first time, wearing my mask at all times like I was Spiderman keeping my identity. Of course I couldn’t go and meet anyone. But more than meeting anyone, there was one thing that I was craving for, something that I hadn’t done in months, even before corona arrived, a Wildlife outing. I rushed, alone, to one of my most favourite places, The Hill. (I’ve talked about this place in my previous blogs, especially in the blog called ‘The Invisible Bird’. Check it out later- https://kswild.video.blog/2020/03/11/the-invisible-bird/ )
Finally, after I don’t know how many months, I was back. Back at this place, back to my favourite kind of habitat- Scrublands, back to do what I love to do the most. After a breath of fresh air and admiring the beauty of The Hill, I got back to work, finding Wildlife.
I was on my regular path looking for birds when I saw this immature Shikra sitting on a tree, at around 5.30pm. Now the first step when you see a bird that you’re interested in clicking photos of, is to find a good route with a lot of hiding spots for you like shrubs, to approach it without being noticed. You generally get low, even crawl like an earthworm if possible to go unnoticed. Now crawling here was not an option as it was sitting on a tree on the slope of a hill and I was on flat land, so I had to climb. But I kept my head low and approached steadily, like an undercover agent or FBI, like we always do. But what I noticed when I got closer was that this bird wasn’t bothered, at all. He didn’t even look at me. Well, it was a good sign. I clicked photos in that crouched pose and moved closer. Still nothing, not even slightly interested. I clicked photos from that position and again changed my spot to get a different angle. All movements done here were soft, like agents, just to not scare the bird. But the bird was not at all interested. It was VERY surprising. Now, I stood up straight. I changed angles, spots while walking like a normal person and this bird didn’t even care to at least see what I was trying to do. Birds might gain some level of confidence in you after a point of time, but it’s usually a long period. On the other hand, this kid was confident in me even before I arrived. I was walking here and there like a normal person trying to find different angles, I scaled up to a greater elevation to get to the eye level of the bird on the tree, wasn’t a great angle so I got down again, all like a normal person while walking on the crunchy leaves and sticks on the ground. This fella still didn’t give a damn.
Getting to the eye-level of the bird
Now this was funny. The only conclusion I could come up with here was that it didn’t know what a predator is and it believes that there’s no evil in the world. I’m not evil of course, but you gotta be cautious when you’re out there. At least that’s the normal behaviour of all the Wildlife that I’ve ever come across. I took out my tripod, set it up from different spots and angles, clicked ENOUGH photos. You won’t believe me, I don’t have a single photo of the bird looking towards me. I started shooting a video now. What I noticed after that was very interesting.
There were other small birds like Prinias, Sunbirds, Bulbuls, White-eyes, Robins and some flycatchers who were playing around and singing. Some birds were in the bushes behind me, some down the hill in other bushes while a few on the same tree as the Shikra, but on the branches above him. What I noticed was that this little Shikra was curiously listening to these sounds and searching where they were coming from. He noticed some Sunbirds chirping above him and tilted his head to watch them with utmost curiosity. He saw a flycatcher that took flight from the bushes behind me towards to the bushes down the hill and I literally saw the Shikra panning his head in synch with the Flycatchers flight. But not in a mood to attack (being a bird of prey) but with inquisitiveness. It was as if he was seeing the outside world for the first time in his life, he was seeing these birds for the first time, listening to so many different sounds and where they actually come from for the first time. He didn’t know what they looked like, he didn’t know what a human looked like, that there are real dangers in this world.
It seemed that it was all very new for him, that it was his first day out of the nest as an independent bird. And this is quite possible. Looking at his behaviour right from the moment I decided to approach him, his extraordinary boldness, his inquisitiveness for all the life around him, all the sounds, his relaxed body posture with one leg that he had pulled back in his feathers while he was standing on just the other leg, his ocassional preening and yawning while observing the nature around, his undeveloped but fresh feathers and plumage suggesting that he was just at the stage of leaving a nest. And that this was all happening after almost 4 months into the nesting season of the species(which is between March to June). All these things clubbed together pointed towards only one conclusion, it was probably his first day as an independent Shikra out of the nest in this huge deciduous habitat.
Stretching and Preening
I left him alone after I could get all the possible photos and videos, still no frame of him looking towards me 🙂
Here’s a small video clip of the various behaviours of the kid, preening, stretching, observing his surroundings are listening to all the sounds with utmost fascination- https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uoHexvY1DRzl-xwszrzRm7zdPLzyZxKe/view?usp=sharing
Here’s another one minute video about this entire outing(because this bird wasn’t the only thing I saw that day)- https://www.instagram.com/tv/CB2xX0AjC7r/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
At the start of the blog, I mentioned one of my previous blogs ‘The Invisible Bird’ where I talked about ‘The Hill’. You can read that blog here if you haven’t already-https://kswild.video.blog/2020/03/11/the-invisible-bird/