How A No-Nonsense Bureaucrat Found Joy And Meaning In Birds

My father grew to love the little green-and-red fellows that flitted about on the Ficus tree. Once when I turned up, I remember, he dragged me to the window and pointed to the underside of a thick branch. "She's building a nest!" he said, though I'm not sure how he knew it was a she. Sure enough: we could see some twigs and other indeterminate material in a small hole in the branch, an upside-down barbet industriously jabbing at it all with her beak, flying off to find some more indeterminate material, returning to jab upside-down some more. We didn't ever see any baby barbets, but the thought of them hatching and growing in there was a delicious one.