There’s a drumstick tree just outside my second floor (third floor if you’re American) balcony. This tree is perpetually flowering, and attracts a whole bunch of birds. The top of the tree is just below my balcony – so get a bird’s eye view of the life of birds, so to speak!
This morning, I was fooling around with Pranav’s 55-200 lens and I finally could get some decent pictures of some of the birds.
As usual, the noisy sunbirds were in attendance, and an ashy prinia wwas hanging around, but the real star of the day was the one-legged sparrow that Vidya has been telling me about.
I remember reading in a few places that sparrows are vanishing from places where they were once abundant. The fact was brought home to me when Smitha told me a couple of weeks ago that we should do something about it. Since then I have been keeping an eye out for sparrows. I know that there a few around my house – I recognize their chirruping everyday, but I had never seen them. Vidya and I were talking about this, and she told me one day that she had seen a couple of them, one of them with only one leg.
Early one morning, I was on my way out when I spotted the one-legged sparrow. But I was in a hurry and did not have the time to stop and make his acquaintance. Today, he was in my drumstick tree, showing off, chirruping, and more importantly, posing for me. I got some good pictures of him. Hopefully, one of these days, I will have the privilege of making the acquaintance of his kinsmen as well.
Sparrows have always been part of our childhoods – they would nest in the tiled roofs of our houses, their noisy chirruping competed with the cawing of the crows to fill the soundscape of our mornings, they would have to be shooed off from the grains put out to dry on sunny days… They were always there, and they were always there in abundance.
I remember hand-rearing sparrows in my boyhood. They kept falling out of their nests from our roof, and we couldn’t put them back. some survived, some died – but they were always there, and were always there in abundance.
Such a common creature, the sparrow also populated our stories and was also part of common idiom – forced trips to the barber shop were preceded by several days of your mom comparing your hair to a sparrow’s nest. They were always there, and were always there in abundance.
We, my peers and I, are sufficiently far away from boyhood to talk fondly about it. Unfortunately, along with our boyhood, the sparrows too seem to have disappeared.