Nature

Housekeepers, the avian kind…

Housekeepers of the wild, Whilte-browed Bushchat

Housekeepers is what comes to mind when one looks at the smaller birds prancing about the terra firma or waiting pensively at the waterside… while the raptors and mammals go about their mauling, impaling, tearing and digging like teenagers, leaving a seeming mess in their wake, the little ones tend to go about their business like a nitpicking elder, keeping it orderly and prim…

We were being pampered by raptors in the hallowed grounds of Tal Chappar, and ‘twas in between the wooden posts occupied by harriers and kestrels that one could find a flycatcher or two perched nonchalantly, unperturbed by the fearsome of its brethren, making one wonder how the social hierarchy of birds is quite akin to the constructs of the human, size matters, but no more than the bravado of the smaller one…

The White-browed Bushchat was gazing around casually, seeming disinterested in subsistence as it soaked in the winter sun leisurely, in contrast to the Great Grey Shrike that was quite attentively twitching around on its own perch… on the ground, the Black Redstart was probing the grounds aggressively for a meal, and the Red-breasted Flycatcher was manning the waterhole in its quintessential timidity…

The nervous, circumspect dispositions these smaller birds carry belies the innate fearlessness that makes them stand up to the fiercest of predators… you won’t find them exuding the poise or pointed gaze of a raptor surveying its land, but you won’t find them backing out of a territorial fight if provoked either… and they have their own idiosyncrasies too… the puff and roll of the bushchat to the lookabouts of the shrike… the reason they remind me of housekeepers is the humility by which they go about the chores, quietly tending to the seemingly menial tasks without any grudges…

It takes no less than a lifetime to comprehend the life of the smallest cog in this infinite canvas of biodiversity, but the fleeting impressions are no less compelling either… the interactions maybe coincidental or laboured, as the majestic ones sweep large arcs in the sky like epics and ballads, slowly building up to the crescendo, the smaller birds accentuate themselves like a haiku, a quick pointed thrust to display their prowess and consume the critter… like housekeepers, these birds are the unsung dispositions, bringing order to the structures around them, making peace with anonymity…

Housekeepers of the wild, White-browed Bushchat
White-browed Bushchat
Housekeeprs of the wild, Variable Wheatear
Great Grey Shrike
Housekeepers of the wild, Black Redstart.
Black Redstart
Red-breasted flycatcher (female)
Red-breasted flycatcher (female)

Musings on avifauna, 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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