Friends and family will not be surprised that I was given this title by a fellow traveler in India – since my journey to Peru I have been somewhat (!) obsessed with capturing photos of birds, both locally and during my travels. This of course dovetails (pun intended) with my overall passion for nature photography. India provided ample opportunities.
Let’s start with the most iconic Indian bird, the peafowl. The male peacock is most familiar with its dazzling array of iridescent back feathers that shimmer in the sun during mating season to attract a female peahen. The peacocks I saw did not have the full brilliant fan of feathers that the breed is so well-known for. Nature has its own rhythms, and every year, at end of summer, peacocks’ long plumage molts. Hormones trigger the beginning of the molting process, which is timed to occur after the mating season to allow for the energy required to grow the new feathers in time for mating season in the spring. Timing is everything (I was in India in December). They are still fascinating birds:
Fascinating peahen fact: The female peacock has special sensors in her crest that allow her to feel the vibrations of a male. Her head feathers are tuned to vibrate at the exact same frequency – some 26 beats a second at which a displaying peacock rattles his tail. The peahens must be singing this line from “Great Balls Of Fire:”
“You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain”
A fellow India traveler, Wes, sent this picture from an extended journey in India after ours ended and graciously has allowed me to share – I guess his peacock was practicing for the spring season opener:
The bird powers that be were shining on me even on my first day in Mumbai – although it took a bit of camera trickery to catch these kites – medium size raptors – that were located behind netting constructed to keep them away from the hotel guests:
And someone up there has a keen sense of humor positioning all those “kites” stuck on an antenna:
The big kahunas were also abundant – take a look at these eagles:
The crested eagle was also supplied by Wes – thanks!
Some birds were ubiquitous – similar to where I live near the Long Island Sound in NYC – seagulls, crows, ducks (common coots) and pigeons:
There were literally millions of pigeons in the above scene that took place near the harbor where people inexplicably tossed food for them.
There are also flocks of bright green parrots – but they have a special story so I will save them for another post.
And once in a while a solitary figure would appear to delight, if you are quick enough to spot it:
There are many more birds of India including some that completely stole my heart even though quite tiny – coming in the next weeks’ posts.