My avian visitors

Imagine my delight at seeing four sunbirds enjoying nectar from the Hoya blossoms!

There was excited chirping and much fluttering of wings one morning while I was sitting on my balcony reading the day’s newspaper. I looked across at the Hoya creeper and saw a bulbul hopping from one stem to another and calling to his mate in the bougainvillea bush nearby. She seemed quite happy there, ensconced as she was in the magenta splendour of the arbour, and would not respond.

Mr Bulbul seemed to be pleading. It was almost as if he was saying “just come and see, please, just once”. After many attempts to woo her, however, he became resigned to her “no” and, shortly afterwards, the pair flew away.

I sat there, entranced, taking in this little episode, and I remembered that this was now the third time it had happened. Twice before, a pair of bulbuls had flitted about and I had watched the same scene being enacted. Each time I had hoped Mrs Bulbul would agree and give me the pleasure of having them as guests on my balcony. “Ah!” I wondered, “Third time lucky?” It was not to be.

Remembering what my son had told me just a fortnight earlier – about a pair of bulbuls coming in to nest in the potted bamboo in his drawing room and going on to lay eggs and hatch them, creating fledglings who later even hopped about quite unmindful of human activity before they flew away – I was surprised as I was hoping that my avian visitors would decide to stay, too.

I was jolted out of my reverie by some more chirping. This time it was louder and sounded like more than one bird was around. Imagine my delight at seeing four little sunbirds enjoying the nectar from the Hoya blossoms. For such tiny creatures, their accompanying calls were disproportionately loud!

It was such a happy scene, this cheerful feathered group enjoying itself and revelling in nature’s bounty. It seemed almost as though the birds had arrived specially to cheer me up. While the blossoms lasted on the vine – and there were 30 clusters this season – I had many visits from the little sunbirds. They came most-ly in twos, chirpily announcing their arri-val and their joy at the abundant nectar.

The blossoms have disappeared now, but the next time there are clusters of these beautiful, waxy white blossoms with their rich fragrance, I am certain I will have these delightful visitors again.

With the gardens and trees disappearing and with little greenery around most apartment-houses, it is a wonder that we see any birds at close quarters. I am lucky to have a balcony that affords a view of a very pretty garden, my neighbour Kumudini’s, and a few old trees. My endeavour to keep flowering plants and plants that make me feel happy is to encourage my winged friends too.

Perhaps, the next season Mrs Bulbul will be persuaded to stay? That is a prospect to look forward to!

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