Birds seen in Europe (Part 5)

Where there is the sea, there will be gulls. After all, the sea is what a gull calls home. Looking back, we did spend much of our vacation close to water, so it was natural to have spotted gulls in almost every city that we visited.

Common Gull

Unlike what the name suggests, the Common Gull was not really everywhere. Characterised by a red eye-ring, we first spotted it at Roskilde, Denmark, atop one of the houses. While on the boat from Flam to Gudvangen on Naeroyfjord (one of Norway’s scenic fjords) however, there were many of them following us, looking out for scraps of food. Continue reading

Celebrating the house sparrow and other common urban birds

Happy World Sparrow Day!

20th March, World Sparrow Day is a day designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common urban birds that are integral to the biodiversity of our world. Thanks to the Nature Forever Society.

Despite living in a multi-storied building in Mumbai, a city that is generally perceived as a concrete jungle where humans have little space to breathe, we are fortunate to see other living species. The little sparrows are usually heard before we look up into the bushes to look for them. Their chirping is unmistakable. We haven’t seen them on the fourteenth floor, but several other birds visit our balcony. Some are good posers, probably oblivious to the camera while others are too quick to shoot. Continue reading

Birds in Dubai

With the vast expanse of sand and sparse greenery one would think that there wouldn’t be much for birds in Dubai. However, Ber trees, Yellow trumpet bushes and Bougainvillea seem to be adequate to attract several species of birds, many of which are uncommon in our city homes.

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)
White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow
House Sparrow, female (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)
Common Myna
Common Myna (Location: Mirdif)
Eurasian collared Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove (Location: Mirdif)
Laughing Dove
Laughing Dove (Location: Dubai Marina)
Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)
Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)
White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)
White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)
Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)

Pictures taken in Dubai, October 2014

Missing the sparrows in Bangalore

Today, March 20, is World Sparrow Day.

During my childhood in Bangalore in the 1970s-80s, sparrows were a part of our everyday life, much the way rock pigeons just merge with the high-rise landscape today.

Scores of sparrows would be all over the backyard, chirping on the pomegranate and guava trees. Unafraid of humans, the sparrows hopped around on the ground whenever mom cleaned the rice, in expectation of falling grains. (Yes, the rice used to have stones that needed to be removed, and chaff that would blow away in the wind as the rice was tossed up and down on the “morram”.) Continue reading