Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nature Note from Mhow: From a nestling to a flying bird.

Wednesday April 26, 2017.

When I left home at half past ten this morning the Purple Sunbird nest in our verandah had one young nestling in it. I had observed that the young one had been getting more active with each passing moment. I had got a bit scared yesterday when I saw it trying to come out of the nest and spreading its wings.  I had heaved a sigh of relief when it had gone back inside. But I was happy that its 'graduation day' was approaching and it would be soon leaving the safe confines of its nest.

Earlier this morning I had seen it being fed by one of its parents. When I returned home at half past two I saw that the nest was empty. I was flooded by thoughts.  Had the young one flown away or had it fallen from its nest and/or been killed and eaten by a predator? Should I feel sad or happy? I went inside and kept my bag on the table. But my mind was tense, I was consumed by worry.

A moment before I saw the empty nest I had seen the male parent on a tree in our garden not far from the verandah. I came out into the verandah and saw the female parent on the same tree chirping loudly. I asked myself if she was chirping because she was mourning.  Then I heard the chirping of another bird and saw another Purple Sunbird with a distinctively yellow breast.  When I looked carefully I was delighted to see that it was the young one whom I had always seen in the nest.

Seeing the young one on the tree was a wonderful sight. I rushed in and brought my camera and clicked a pic of the young one.  The memory card became full so I had to go through a series of deleting and clicking before I managed to get around half a dozen pictures of the young one before it flew away.

Before the young sunbird flew away my mother had also come out to see it. She could spot it when I pointed it out to her. She also observed its yellow chest. I had told her that young birds look different from the adults of the same species.

This is a nest which was re-used by the parents. More than a week ago I had seen that the nest was on the verge of falling. I had feared for the safety of the two eggs in it so I had used a piece of cardboard and scotch tape to build a scaffold attached to the wall for the nest to rest. It needed attention as it was hanging by just a few strands of grass. I am glad that this platform was successful in keeping the nest and the two eggs inside it safe. And the egg which hatched has now become a flying bird. I think I deserve to feel happy and celebrate.

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