The Sparrows’ Nest”

Contributed to The World Sparrow Day 20th March

As we “Flew over

A Pictory by Subramanyam & Sowjanya Vishnubhotla Mar 2012

A Day in the Life of a Sparrow
It was a pleasant afternoon on our vacation at Port Blair, we return from a visit to the some of the best beaches in the world and sat down for our late lunch at the Nico Bar*. Cool breeze blowing from the sea and the sounds of the waves lashing on an abandoned concrete structure opposite the resort, setup an ideal setting for sipping a chilled Kingfisher and/or fresh coconut water to quench the thirst and add to the spirit.

An audio visual scan of the venue revealed the wonderful ambiance as my ears tuned to sparrows chirping in two distinct tones. As tweets resonated between the sparrow and the response heard from nowhere as an echo…amused, I continued to keep an eye on the sparrow, while I ordered a KF for myself and fresh coconut water for my daughter.
What we experienced that afternoon is one of the most memorable spectacles of our lives…spell bound we started shooting…with our Canon and Sony.

* Nico Bar is the name of the Bar at ITC Fortune Bay Resort in Port Blair.

Here comes the story

…(sit back and enjoy)

It took a while (and a few sips and bites) to realize that the sparrow was targeting her signals towards an electrical junction box which also housed a CFL lamp. From inside the small aperture on the box were high pitched responses to the sparrow’s tweet from outside a few yards away. In a flash, the sparrow dived only to rise again and land on the ledge of the small cut out of the electrical junction box. Balancing itself while taking support with its tail touching the lamp, the sparrow show cased her life to the awestruck amateur photographers’.

From the aperture pops out the head of the urchin inviting its mom and its mother responds instantaneously landing on the sharp edge of the 18 gauge or so thin sheet metal box…what we saw next was even splendid…

The eye contact is made and the communication continued with the baby opening it mouth as wide as it can…

The mouth widens further while the mom still has its beak shut tightly as it cranes its neck towards the outstretched beak of its baby…the process of food transfer had taken place…I guess our jaws were open too watching this melodrama…

In a flash the mom transfers the food mouth to mouth, balancing itself all through … the birds’ eyes might have been closed as the blissful transaction between the hungry little one and its parent…my eyes were certainly wide open and moist with the love and affection demonstrated by the mother…but there is more to come….

While all this is happening, we saw another beak popping out…the sparrow has TWINS and hence two mouths to feed…two little hungry birds to be fed at one shot…the mother looks at the scenario as if to decide which one to feed first ? As the saying goes…the crying baby gets the milk…but if there are two equally vociferous crying babies ?? Who gets the food first ??? The mother is not perplexed I reckoned, as she knows how to handle it all…

She seems to tell the first one…hey you had your quota, now let me feed your brother…the brother waits on…thinking if it is First Come First Fed ? Then I should pop my head out first next time ?…It was very amusing for us but the reality is that the mother had to plan food for both in one shot…she does it very professionally…meeting its Customers’ expectations splendidly..

Ps (7.47 AM 17th March 2012): As I do this presentation, I hear sparrows chirping as if it is resonating from my vacation spot and was about to dispose off the idea…but to my utter disbelief, I see two sparrows land on the bird feeder I hung outside my balcony… I Thanked God for connecting me to these wonderful species again and got back to the presentation as they flew off happily and I am positive they will return…for such is my connect with them since my early childhood…oh ! how I wish that everyday in my life were a Saturday and I get to sit and do something as exciting and exploratory as this…Thank You God for giving me this Life… give me the ability to leave this world which will be better that what I got as I landed !!! Amen !!! Making sure the new heirs do not say Ahhh Men…they had fun all their lives and ruined my Party/Planet !!!

Having satiated the needs of its little ones, it seemed to have a final look inside to see if “allzwell” followed by a probing glance at us to check if we have seen it all or missed anything, much to our embarrassment …she flew over us fluttering her small wings as she went by…

As I recovered from one of the best experiences of my life so far, it occurred to me that this was an all female affair…giving birth, feeding chicks etc., and scanned to see if I am missing anything/anyone…

bingo…
I saw the male… perched at a distant on a concrete beam keeping a watchful eye on the whole proceedings…the sentinal of the family… I felt that the family picture is now complete…in all respects…the parents – ably sharing the responsibility of their kith and kin !!!

Living for generations in a serene environment without ever deteriorating it but always adding value to the ecosystem.

Wondering what to do next, I resumed by audio-visual scan to find out. The logical next step would be to find more food…so I rolled a few of the peanuts from the complimentary accompaniment served with the beverage…instantly realizing that the nuts would be hard for the sparrow to crack and choke them. Realizing the mistake, I requested the waiter to fetch some raw rice in a bowl. He was puzzled but ran into the kitchen while I took my next sip of the burbling KF a little warmer since it was served. But I was too Chilled/Thrilled by then to bother about it as the spirit was up again in a flash seeing a pair of sparrows landing to examine the nuts sprawled on the mahogany wooden floor of Nico Bar…

Having sighted food, a pair of sparrows landed and started to get to work…examining cautiously first followed by action… They converted themselves into woodpeckers and started knocking at the nuts like a hammer drill and breaking them into manageable pieces…even our cameras could not pickup the rapid action…

They Saw They Conquered They Fled in a Flash !!!

And when they sighted rice this time, they were back at it again… stuffing grains into their beaks and ready to fly and feed their kids… This pictory comes to a end here an exotic experience for us …but for the sparrows… Its all in a Day’s Work !!!

We Swam, Snorkeled in Crystal Clear water, Walked miles on pure white sand and in thick forests, collected corals and shells…but the live demo of life by the sparrows stands out…thanks Sparrows !!!

This experience is so imprinted in my mind that even as I click on my mouse, the sound I hear is the sparrows chirping…

Unforgettable & etched deep inside !!!