March 6, 2012

Blue Jays and Sparrows

                                             (Picture courtesy: Photographer and filmmaker Jim Brandenburg)

This afternoon, as I was ambitiously finishing some last -in- the- line errands in the house, my eyes caught some swift movements outside. A quick dash, an even quicker chase! In the stillness of the cold winter afternoon, against the backdrop of the bare tree tops, a few birds that seemed to come from nowhere suddenly filled up my chalice of hope, rekindled new thoughts and gave a fillip to my sense of positivism. I had never seen this kind of a sight before. A Blue Jay chasing a few sparrows! And the best part was we weren't seeing any birds for a few weeks now, except the V- shaped Geese formations that parade the skies during early morning hours.

Birds. They bring me boundless joy. I just need to catch a glimpse of a Sparrow in its flight. Or a twittering Robin trying to find its feet on a shaky little branch. Even as I was overcome with happiness watching the little power struggle of my feathery friends, I eagerly showed the sight to my Seven-year old and in unison we said in our typical sing-song style, ' Spring is round the corner, Spring is round the corner!'

March 20th is the official date for the advent of Spring in this part of the world. But, I keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best to happen. Last Winter; weather channels said was the coldest in a few decades. This Winter; they say is the warmest in a few decades. Last Winter, we saw nothing but snow. This Winter, we haven't seen snow at all. So, what is the reading on the wall?

A humble worshiper in Nature's shrine, am awed by the myriad ways in which life around inspires, rejuvenates, enlightens and what not. And it hurts to see the ease with which we take life away from Her. Looking around, am not sure, whether its ignorance or sheer carelessness that is the reason.

A few days back, we were at Coney Island. Weathering the cold winds, as we strolled around the waterways , much to our astonishment, we found at least a hundred mallard ducks, swans, geese and other birds cackle endlessly while eating bread crumbs! The first question that we asked each other was, ' What are these birds doing here at this time of the year? They aren't supposed to be here eating bread this Winter!' As we exclaimed thus, we thought we figured out the answer as well. First of all, weather patterns are changing across the world. These birds could very well be a confused lot. And second, if bread happens to be their staple food, what would that land them in? Research proves that it delays migration and impacts their natural instincts to forage for their own food. There were about a dozen happy souls feeding the birds from huge packets of breads and buns. Other than anxiously staring at their feeding frenzies, there wasn't much to be done. Looking back, I dread to think what the birds would do if they were stopped being fed bread, one day, all of a sudden?

Sad thought indeed. And I know not the answer. Whenever I think of Nature, I think of Her as nimble-footed. And so are her creatures. But, we must let them be. We must just let wildlife be. Its best to let them be in their own wild worlds, with their wild instincts.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I am thinking about swans once again. Yes, indeed, we changed their nature. This winter is OK, no snow, no ice, it's a very warm one. I remember a few years ago running as usual along the Canal and watching swans marching... on ice. Yes, the Canal froze, or at least most of it. It looked totally ridiculous - swans on ice. I am sure lots of them die here every winter, especially during the "normal", cold winters. Still, they choose to stay here, to freeze, to be hungry on unnatural diet, to fight for every crumb with at least one hundred of swans and innumerable ducks and seagulls. The benefit - they save energy of the flight to the warmer lands, they avoid the risk of being shut by sadists who officially call themselves "sportsmen". (Are we going to live to see the day when rapists of little girls will also call themselves sportsmen?)

Now we have to feed swans. No choice! If not enough food, they will surely die. What a dilemma! What a dead end! What winter will come in 2013?!? Or will it?!?

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