Nature

A roller, roiled…

Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis)

The Indian Roller is one of those birds possessing a mix of plain and bright plumage that enable them to go from unassuming to striking within a span of a few wingbeats… famed for mid-air acrobatics by males during the mating season (the ‘roll’-er) and an appetite for pests that complements the farmer’s disdain for them, coupled with its ubiquitous presence in open country has lent itself to myriad cultural attributions, including the poison devouring almighty that lends it the Hindi name (Neelkanth)… and as is so often the case, blind reverences lead to senseless superstitions spelling doom for animalia… large numbers of the bird are captured during Dusshera on the pretext of their sighting absolving human sins…

Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis)

One way to look at handicaps is a sense of impediment, but on the other hand they can also strengthen, steel and embolden… for loss begets resolve… and a penchant for persistence, the kind that pays… this is what came to mind looking at this roller striking a defiant pose perched atop a fallen tree… a closer look revealed a broken beak, that in its weathered state looked like an old accident…

Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis)

It gave a grumpy look to the roller, that broken beak, and piqued one’s curiosity about its modus operandi for subsistence… the answer was turning hyperlocal… come what may, which included people that could creep in close enough to shoot selfies, the bird refused to find another perch save the one beside a small waterhole, which offered easy pickings, albeit with a smaller menu…

Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis)

In an open grassland where raptors are dime a dozen, it seemed suicidal from one viewpoint, this steadfastness, but then desperation coaxes one into throwing caution to the wind… an angry sea cannot faze an angrier sailor… in avifaunal realms more than anywhere, one observes a surprising fearlessness where a smaller stature does not necessarily equate to a submissive demeanour…  

Birds of India

The roller obliged us by demonstrating the efficacy of this strategy of staying put, a quick dip into the water and out it came with a hapless amphibian, the matter of devouring it turned out to be a trickier affair though with limited cutlery at disposal, but it would’ve managed, one surmised as it flew off with the prey seeking privacy… fortune does favours the brave, one surmises, going back to chasing raptors…

Birds of India

Musings on an Indian roller (Coracias benghalensis), Tal Chappar, Rajasthan

Author: Parth Joshi

Mountain lover ⛰️ | Hiker 🥾| Runner 🏃‍♂️ | Cyclist 🚴 | Photographer 📷... allured by the outdoors, the author is a quintessential lost soul craving for the outdoors while suffering in a desk job...

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