Visitors from near and far

Do you know that Bengaluru gets visitors from across the world? And no, we're not talking about people. Several birds make their way to India for the winter.

Here’s a video I took, of some remarkable ‘fishers’ that we are able to see, even in urban lakes such as Madiwala or Lalbagh, in the winter. These are Spot-billed Pelicans which are local travellers.

There are some long-distance travellers, too. These are Bar-headed Geese landing at Hadinaru Kere, near Nanjangud, Karnataka, in August 2015; they come all the way from Mongolia! Here’s one, which was tagged in Mongolia (yes, I received a reply from the scientists there when I emailed them, it was quite a thrill).

This winter, we had another lone, and surprise visitor. The Demoiselle Crane was a lone bird that I spotted in a lake near Bangalore (Hulimangala). For nearly a month, this beauty kept bird-watchers fascinated; now, the bird has left, probably to join the hundreds of others who regularly migrate to Khichan in Rajasthan.

The Demoiselle Crane is known as the Koonj or Kraunch. In Khichan, Rajasthan, villagers feed the cranes on their migration and these large congregations have become an annual spectacle.

In the mythology of Valmiki, the composer of the Hindu epic Ramayana, it is claimed that his first verse was inspired by the sight of a hunter killing the male of a pair of Demoiselle Cranes that were courting. Observing the lovelorn female circling and crying in grief, he cursed the hunter in verse. Since tradition held that all poetry prior to this moment had been revealed rather than created by man, this verse concerning the Demoiselle Cranes is regarded as the first human-composed meter.

Queen Marie Antoinette of France gave the demoiselle crane its name. Demoiselle means maiden, or young lady, in French (one is more familiar with ‘mademoiselle’). The queen was enchanted by the crane’s delicate and maidenly appearance.

Another beautiful and colourful bird that visits the outskirts (and sometimes urban areas of Bangalore, too!) each winter, is the Indian Pitta

The name is very interesting. The name pitta comes from the Telugu word meaning ‘small bird’. Local names in India are based on the bright colours of these birds, and their behaviour, such as the time of calling. These include Navrang (nine colour bird) in Hindi and Arumani Kuruvi‘ (6 O’ Clock bird) in Tamil.

Apart from these, we have several kind of birds which visit us… flycatchers, warblers, birds large and small, which add to the joy of birdwatchers during the winter months.

These are some of the several birds whose arrival we look forward to, eagerly, every winter, to our city and its environs… giving us the message that all is well with bird migration around the globe.

Related Articles

Record sighting of the Demoiselle Crane in Bengaluru
Umbrella Fishing by Painted Storks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Bengaluru’s street vendors are the first to be impacted by climate change: Lekha Adavi

Lekha Adavi, member of AICTU, says the nature of street vending has changed in the city due to the impact of climate change.

(This is part 1 of the interview with Lekha Adavi on the impact of climate change on Bengaluru's street vendors) On May 1st, while the world celebrated Labour Day, Bengaluru recorded its highest temperature in 40 years. With temperatures continually on the rise, one of the most affected groups are street and peripatetic vendors (vendors who operate on foot or with push carts). In this interview, Lekha Adavi, member of the All India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU), talks about the effect of climate change on street vendors. Excerpts: Lekha Adavi, member of the All India Centre of Trade Unions…

Similar Story

Smothered by smog: Struggle of vegetable vendors in Delhi’s Keshopur Mandi

Delhi's air pollution affects every resident, but for the urban poor, like vegetable vendors of Keshopur Mandi, it is much worse.

Halfway through our interview, vegetable vendor Rekha asked me point blank, “Isse kya hoga,” and at that moment, I could not think of an answer. She was right and had every reason to be hopeless. Much has been written about air pollution and much energy has been spent on expert committees and political debates and yet nothing has changed.  “Hum toh garib log hai, hum kisko jakar bole, hamari sunvai nahin hoti” (We are poor people, to whom do we go, nobody listens to us),” says Rekha Devi, who sells vegetables in the Keshopur Mandi. Keshopur is a large retail…