It’s another Sunday, the day of fun for everyone, late morning wakeup, tasty breakfast, watching favourite TV shows, visiting malls and many more…… As a birder and naturalist I decided to wake up early (even earlier than usual that I wake up for my work) and go to Padle village for a heart storming session of the habitat of Baya Weaver bird, but I couldn’t resist myself to go to BPS (Bhandup Pumping Station) though I knew I will be missing Baya Weaver session for the photos of flamingos since I was eagerly waiting for a decent shot of flamingo since last two years.
Flamingos are migratory birds which come from African and European nations in search of food and warmer climate. The original colour of flamingos is pure white (of course not red, pink or orange). But we normally see pinkish red colour of flamingos. So the question is how do they get these colors???? Well the answer is here. The food for flamingos is numerous bacteria and beta-carotene which they get from food supply and then they start developing pink colour on their body. Even large amount of blue green algae (BGA) is the rich source of diet for them. Flamingos whose sole diet is BGA are more darker in colour. A well – fed healthy flamingo is vibrant in colour so they are best desirable for mating whereas pale pink colour or white colour flamingo is not healthy or it is malnourished. Normally two categories of flamingos are seen in our area :- lesser flamingos and greater flamingos. Distinct feature to distinguish them is their body and neck length, small and long respectively. But sometimes we can also distinguish them from beak. Lesser flamingo have complete black colour beak while the beak of greater flamingo is white and has a black tip at the end.
During takeoff Flamingos first run with their legs on water and then they start to fly. As I missed the heart storming session of Baya Weaver for the breath taking actions of flamingos but at last at the time of exit from BPS we saw nesting work of Baya weaver.
So here comes the lovely story of Baya weaver…..
Baya weaver – An Untold Story
A small yellow coloured bird with black spot near the head (prominent in males, absent in females) is one of the distinctive characters for identifying them. Yellow coloured breast with buff coloured belly is the prominent identification mark. They are found all around the city with their nest seen hanging on the branches of the trees. Basically a grassland bird, flocks of these birds are found in grasslands and near agricultural fields. Nests are typically inverted, retort shaped and specifically having a sided opening from downwards. Food mainly consists of rice, insects, frogs, geckos for themselves as well as for their young ones.
The breeding season of the Baya weavers is during monsoon. They choose the location close to the material required for building nest, food. These birds are best known for the nest woven by the males. Nests are made up of paddy leaves and rough grasses. A bird is known to make 500 trips to complete its nest. It takes about 18 days to construct the complete nest. The nests are often build hanging over the palm trees above the water to keep them away from predators.
Firstly the nest are partially built of somewhat helmet shape by males. Then males begin to display themselves by flapping the wings and by calling to attract females for courtship. Females inspects the nest and if she likes it, she signals the male for their acceptance. Once a male and female are paired, male goes on to complete the nest by adding the entrance tunnel. Male is the whole and sole incharge of nest building, though female may help them to give finishing touch, particularly to the interiors. A study has been found that nest location is the most important criteria while selection of the nest. It prefers nest at high locations, over dry lands and near water bodies. After giving birth to young ones nests are abandoned and are used by other birds such as munias or silverbills. Sometimes nests are most likely attacked by garden lizards such as calotes versicolor.