If you thought that sighting carnivores is the ultimate thrill you can get amid nature, think again. If you thought bird-watching is all about gluing binoculars to your eyes and speaking in hushed voices as you watch a bird nipping at a worm peacefully with its beak, you’ve only been bird-watching on television!
After a good night’s rest in nature’s lap, I signed up for a bird watching tour the next morning, and it turned out to be an adventure of sorts. As I and my co-travellers, guided by our OCK Naturalist, walked along the banks of the Kabini River, he pointed out to a certain bird at a distance and educated us that it was a red-wattled lapwing, commonly known as the “Did-you-do-it” bird. Now, there is no need to think too much, dirty mind! It is a mere reference to what their calls actually sound like.
As we moved forward to get a closer look, we heard its “did-you-do-its” getting louder, and lo and behold, there were atleast four more of its kind chirping hysterically. What I saw next made my eyes pop, jaws drop, and heart almost stop: the birds were closing in above us at about 10 feet distance, in a closed circle formation. This, our Naturalist informed us, was what these birds did when someone was nearby their eggs.
Their paranoid “did-you-do-its” have a strange way of inducing guilt-like fear in your heart, trust me. I had half a mind to take cover and screech back “I didn’t do anything” at them!
Just then, our naturalist mentioned that these birds were even known to peck humans if we strayed too close to their eggs. That did it. I walked my ugly big feet away from there, lest I be pecked by half a dozen real-life Angry Birds and turn a comic character in the eyes of Mother Nature!
After that action packed “bird-watching” session, we headed back to our “hut”, to luxuriate in our private pools before we went to have lunch. Little did we know we weren’t by ourselves; we had a visitor... A crow sat on a reclined chair overlooking our pool, happily nibbling a packet of roasted cashewnuts straight from the cover!
We had forgotten to shut the doors at our porch and living room, and nature had got the better of us! The crow had flown in, whether from the porch or from near the pool we do not know, and carried away one of the two complimentary packets of roasted cashews that was placed on the table in the living room.
Even as I decided to just let it be (in honour of my Big Foot Muse), the crow tilted its head, looked me in the eye and croaked. I do not know if or not it was thanking me for my so-called sharing, but I took that look to mean “snatch this packet and I’ll peck you!”
Delicious cashews they might be, but I had had enough experience with birds for one morning! I didn’t bother with shooing. I just let the crow nibble our cashews peacefully, as (s)he enjoyed the pool view, sitting on our reclined chair.