Kavya Chimalgi

(Un)Lucky For Life: The Tragic Plight Of The Indian Roller During Dussehra

In earlier times, people considered it lucky to see the Indian roller on Dussehra and many went out into nearby lands to sight them in the wild. With a consequent decline in the number of Indian rollers in increasingly urbanized landscapes, bird traders and poachers hit upon the cruel idea of capturing them and bringing them to towns and cities to make a quick buck. Blinded by superstitious belief, the public abets acts of cruelty against these birds, unknowingly or otherwise.

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.