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Pale-billed Flowerpecker, the smallest bird in India.

The sun is at its relentless best these days. Not a cloud in sight. Once in a while a cool breeze blows, Heaven knows where it is coming from. The distant mountains perhaps? Had it rained there? I have no idea. March has been such a hot month. The mercury has been soaring. Warnings have been issued about UV rays and sunstroke. Butterflies have all but disappeared. The birds too, except maybe the crows. They come daily to drink from the water bowl, also to dip the hard pieces of bread they have picked up, and eat them when softened suitably..

Hot month or not, life must go on, right? Or so it seems. The Konna (Cassia fistula) which usually starts flowering profusely this time of the year has done with flowers and is on to growing a green cover of fresh leaves. So have some other trees. There are young birds around. Apart from the Rufous Treepie siblings I found on the Anamika tree, there were a pair of White-throated Kingfishers sitting on the electric cable and staring wide-eyed at the new world so different from their sheltered nest in a hole in a rocky wall.

Then there was the Pale-billed Flowerpecker chick that came by to perch on the cable outside the balcony.

The last time one had alighted on the same cable (it was at least 4-5 years back), Luci had looked in amazement at the tiny “intruder” who seemed to be the cause of her mom’s excitement. This? This is what made you rush inside and come back running with that thing around your neck? Really, mom! Her look was one of scorn. Without wasting any more time, she stood on her hind legs and barked loudly, scaring the living daylights out of the tiny bird. And I was left with a picture of an empty cable devoid of birds of any sort.

This time I had no intention of taking any chances. I put on a bored expression, a nothing-is-happening-here look, if you will. No evident excitement whatsoever on having spotted a birdie. Luci followed me out to the balcony thinking it was just another of those normal and totally aimless wanderings her mom was into, something to do with how many steps she walked. Humans, eh?! For a minute I was worried history would repeat itself, but thankfully Luci plopped down and promptly went off to sleep. And this time I got the picture of the cable ……with the bird perched on it! 😀

Also called Tickell’s Flowerpecker

© Shail Mohan 2019

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