Few days later, the gardener informed us that the bulbul had indeed built a nest and had laid eggs there. Mom and I were delighted. We get very happy in small things.. like seeing the birds drink water from the water bowl we keep for them, or seeing the peacocks eat the mint leaves mom had so lovingly planted (and then she would call the peacock a gunda for eating away all her mint leaves) or seeing peacock babies (yes, I know they’re called fowls, but I’ll still call them peacock babies, because they’re ugly) or when peacocks eat away the grains we keep for them on the roof. Mom and I are both pet averse – we don’t think we would like to have pets of our own, but we like that these animals and birds think our house is a safe place and they make it their home too, however temporary it is.
It is probably our way of balancing out the karma for every lizard that gets killed in the Mehta household.
Anyway, so two weeks back, the bulbul babies were out.
I tried very hard to convince mother not to keep looking at them 4-5 times a day, because they’ll get spooked. We humans would appear as giants to these birds, no? But she could not control. Every time she would see them, a huge smile appeared on her face. As if they were her babies.
Last Sunday, when the crazy storm hit Ahmedabad, and trees all around were getting uprooted, mother and I were worried about the nest. And the babies inside. Next day when we saw them sleeping, we were immensely happy. The nest was intact. Nature. It nurtures too. While trees which were standing since decades got uprooted, one nest, a week old, was perfect, with the babies in there.
And then, few days back, mother and I saw the parents bulbuls flying around with food in their beaks. :) The babies were growing up. The cacophony of babies, who were forever hungry, and the parents, who tried hard to feed them. :)
And then, yesterday. The Mama bulbul was seen giving flying lessons to the babies. Mother could not stop grinning. She felt as proud of the flying baby bulbuls, as probably the time I took my first step. (or maybe sister took her first step, you see, she came into the world first, the novelty of seeing your child take first step was gone by the time I took my step. :P) Anyway. My mom actually tried to demonstrate how the Mama bulbul was trying to teach the babies how to fly. (I’m sure she wished she had wings instead of hands)
And today, while we were having our afternoon tea, the babies flew right outside the nest onto the nearby tree. This was the farthest distance they had covered. One baby sat on the lower branch, presumably afraid, lacking confidence. Parent bulbuls were going berserk. Probably they knew he was the weakest one. I wonder if they were encouraging him. Wonder if the Papa bulbul was a strict father or an encouraging one. But whatever it was, it worked. The baby flew on the higher branch with his siblings.
And in few seconds, the entire family flew away.
I wonder if they will come back.
I don’t think they will.
But I wish them the best.
I think the mother and I will miss them.
I think I am just grateful to have witnessed such wonders of nature.
Of actually seeing a bird take its first flight. Ever.