Of Bitter Sweet Lessons

The evening that followed the afternoon blaze was surprisingly balmy; the spot of gentle breeze flowing in from the grasslands of Aarey perhaps being one reason, and the whiff of strong fragrance of the Copperpod flowers only accentuated the feeling of benign calm. But in that late hour just before dusk the usual gang of RP girls (five female Rose-ringed Parakeets) refused to pay heed to the beauteous golden-yellow flower-laden Copperpod tree – as they were wont to even four weeks into the flowering season – remaining content with swinging either from the swaying fronds of the coconut palm right next to it, or if bored, from the overhead cables cutting across the garden between the high-rises in the complex, squawking at and bickering with no one in particular.

Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria), female

And then, as if sent deliberately to break the monotony of my routine vigilance of these rowdy lasses, a lone female Alexandrine Parakeet (AP) flapped in and landed awkwardly on the Copperpod tree. She wasted no time in beginning to pluck the flowers one by one, biting into the base of each one, apparently sucking at the nectaries and having emptied it of the juices, dropping it to the ground dismissively. I yet wonder what surprised the RP girls more – the audacity of the AP female to infringe upon their self-proclaimed fiefdom, or the sudden discovery of a value for the flowers that they had disinterestedly neglected until then. But within minutes there was an uproar, with a couple of the RP girls – probably elected members of some higher council – shrieking out orders to the other three – plausibly unlucky ordinary electing members – to retake their territory.

Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria), female

And so, in came the three RPs outflanking the AP, who had no choice but to take off for safer avenues, the RPs following up in its wake probably wanting to see it safely past their territorial border. Meanwhile, the two commanding RPs had already started dismantling the golden-yellow flowers one by one, likely rueing the missed delicacies for the weeks past. And since that day the RP ladies can rarely be seen swinging on the palm fronds – you will more likely see them relieving the suddenly inviting Copperpod flowers of their divine ambrosia!

Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri), female

[Featuring: Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) and Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri), adult females; Copperpod Tree (Peltophorum pterocarpum), Mumbai.
I have uploaded on FB and Instagram, a video of one of the RPs in action.]

– Narendra Nayak © 2020

42 thoughts on “Of Bitter Sweet Lessons

  1. Sounds like a cultural (learned) thing. Haven’t seen the RRPs in my neck of the woods do this. They ignore copperpods entirely, like your bunch did before they learnt it from the AP. Is this the first time you saw this behaviour?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, IJK; this is the first such observation for me. I am now curious how they will react when the pods begin to appear. Existing literature indicates that some parakeets are known to savour the seeds from the pods. Let’s see…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. Those birds remind me of teenagers who can not be bothered with an idea or activity until somebody else does it and it is suddenly cool. Glad the birds cooperated to provide you with something to blog.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Pat! That’s a good parallel you draw – have seen that happen. Yes, I am delighted that there’s something or the other happening in the apartments’ garden and it’s worth the trouble of hanging out of my window at odd angles trying to catch the shows! 😄

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so very much, R; it feels good to be back on home turf! 🙏🏻 It is actually not very difficult you know – once you get to understand Mother Nature and trust her scheme of things you begin to understand how simple and transparent the lives of your brethren actually are. I feel it is sometimes more difficult to understand us convoluted humans! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a wonderful read. Captured my full attention and I found myself smiling at your narration of the events at the Copperpod tree. With such kind of dramas, you surely don’t mind the lockdown all that much, I guess.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ha ha…I am trying to keep sane by observing my more fortunate brethren through my “window” to the world. I hope they keep me indulged till I can turn to my friends in Aarey in good time. 😄
      Thank you, Neelanjana, for reading; I am happy that you enjoyed this narrative. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I never stop to be amazed at what I can learn by watching birds – fascinating and relaxing – I bird watch in my garden and probable waste time doing so, but their antics are always fascinating. Thanks so much for this little insight into the world of some of these beautiful parakeets in Mumbai. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much, Maretha, for reading my tiny tale and for your kind comments. Yes, all these wonderful children of Mother Nature have such an amazing story to tell – if only we pause to observe and listen. And I strongly believe that your time spent in the garden will make for some very memorable times! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is so very kind of you, Maretha! 🙏🏻
        Every part of the planet has its own flock of amazing birds – you can never cease to stare at their beauty and be grateful for this bounty of mother nature! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Narendra, you observed them so minutely. Remember, as kids generally girls used to make a story around themselves with their dolls and toys. Your whole description reminds me that innocent imagination!!
    And beautiful clicks!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Deeksha, for such warm words of appreciation. 🙏🏻
      Yes, I know what you mean; having gone through that phase in childhood as reluctant partners in “घर घर”, doll weddings and other wild stories woven by cousin sisters – and it used to rub on our imagination as well to spice up the tales! 😄
      Mother nature has been kind to give me ample opportunities to observe and study my fellow beings which helps me understand the reason for at least some of their actions. I humanise their interactions quite often – to the chagrin of some of my hardcore naturalist friends who insist that nature is devoid of emotions as we humans know – but my sole aim is that people get curious about these creatures and come closer to Mother… 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I can understand your feelings Narendra. Few years back at my parent’s house I used to work in a different city. During my Sunday visits at home I used to change the position of plant pots frequently. I was able to tell that what new change has happened in a week with these flowers or cactus or creepers.
        Mother Nature is beautiful and in all its forms it attracts us. Humans ignored this and today we all can see how we are suffering.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Christine, for visiting my blog and reading my post. While most wildlife steers clear of humans despite our ingress into nature, those species which are used to human habitation naturally look to our fields and orchards for food. So there is a constant conflict of human interests with birds like parakeets, mynas, bulbuls, pigeons and even some small animals.

      Liked by 1 person

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