Friday, June 30, 2017



Two pretty bulbuls
Built a little nest.
With dry stalks wound
In and out, round and round,
They shaped it and set it
In a fine ferny pot;
Well hidden it was
In a safe spot.

Lady bulbul she laid
Three eggs so sweet,
Sat upon them a week
With nothing to eat.
Crack, crack – on a morning,
Bony and grey,
Came three tiny bulbuls,
Beaks open all day.
Fed them fat and warmed them,
Did the mother so careful,
While father danced and sang,
Of his duties forgetful.

So the little ones grew,
Balls of fluff, very sweet,
And one day they flew,
Gone – to be a crow’s treat?

©2017 Ruth Heredia

Bulbuls in the Balcony

Printed in Knowledge News during the early 1960s

For eight years red-whiskered bulbuls (Pycnonotus jocosus) have visited our six plant-filled balconies, and sometimes ventured into the adjacent rooms.  They have disported themselves just as they pleased: bounced about and swung on plants, swung on clotheslines, flown directly into the glass panes that separate room from balcony - over and over again on purpose, and they have built nests.

They are accustomed to the monsters who inhabit this flat, perching on the grille bars, and cocking their heads as the monsters make strange but not hostile sounds addressed to them.

Four years ago, a pair built a nest in a particularly long, fairly wide balcony, the best of the six.  They chose a collection of dry branches stored in a cachepot at a height.  The balcony was not then enclosed with bird netting.  That story ended in tragedy.  As soon as the fledglings dare to attempt a hopping flight, the parents evidently turn frantic.  They chivvy the little ones, and dive-bomb a monster even if she is only chasing away the waiting crows.  Within a few hours of their first feeble flight, those poor wee three in 2013 were forced out of the balcony – straight into the beaks of waiting crows.  It was over in a couple of minutes.

In May 2017, another pair came scouting for a place to nest in the same balcony, now greener than before, and protected by netting.  What followed is told in pictures below.

The Nest – left & centre: after it was vacated and removed carefully; right: before the eggs were laid
Bye bye birdies
Photographs by Berenice and Naomi da Gama Rose ©2017
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