Nature

Birds in searing summers…

Birds of India - Indian roller

Birds, for all their niftiness, can’t find their way around an unrelenting sun at times… ‘tis a leveller of sorts, this heat… you may fly but I can sweat… a feeble attempt at one-upmanship over the avifauna, for when the heat reaches its zenith, every natural adaptation needs a pinch of luck to concoct the recipe of survival… while birds do have a higher body temperature relative to other animals at about forty degrees Celsius, the searing summers that are a now quintessential feature of the Anthropocene make them suffer too… and so the birds take thermoregulation into their own hands (or claws?)… taking to the water, panting like canines or fluffing up the feathers…

Birds of India - Little green bee-eater

‘Twas the panting that we saw, driving through the Sal forests of Pilibhit baking under an unforgiving April sun… if it were not for a hint of breeze complementing the shade of Shorea robusta, we’d have been flailing around helplessly too… back to the bird then… the little green bee-eater first, staring blankly into nothing with the mount agape, a contrast to the lightning quick reflexes and acrobatics that it’d otherwise exhibit… the Indian roller was a tad more active, but that too hunting for shade rather than food, panting furiously at the sun, the trees and everything in between…

Birds of India - Indian roller

But it was a crested serpent eagle that seemed to be the most humbled… head bowed to the suffocating heat as it stared enviously at a crocodile floating nonchalantly in the pond below… its tongue lolled out in a desperate attempt to dissipate heat and even as we approached to just a few metres away from its perch, it was loath to give up the shade and fly… it is weird seeing birds, the most energetic of all fauna perhaps, struggle with the weather… another reminder that for all the tricks that evolution can conjure, ‘tis still the elements that always have the last word…

Crested serpent eagle

Musing on birds on a hot afternoon, Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh…

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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