Author Archive

Urban Aviary: A/V Edition :-)

There’s a first time for everything and so this is my first experiment with recording songbirds in the morning. One of the silver linings to the dark cloud of movement restrictions and social-distancing that has come with the Covid-19 era, at least here in Dhaka, is reduced noise of traffic and a corresponding increase in my ability to hear the natural sounds around me. Since I also spend more time in the apartment since I work from home, I’ve gotten to know our local birds better. One morning this week I awoke to the sweetest birdsong, and if this works out, above is a link so you can hear it. You may need to unmute or turn your volume up. Listen closely in the first seconds, and you should hear a more distant bird calling first – then one near me starts up a bit louder: these two seemed clearly to be responding to each other. If you listen quite closely at the very end you’ll hear a muezzin beginning the morning call to prayer from a bit farther away. I quite enjoy these morning sounds as the sky slowly lightens, and the relative absence of car horns has most definitely been a + in my book 🙂

By the way, if anyone has any idea what this bird is, let me know. It’s one of the lovelier calls I hear sometimes. One can hear crows aplenty – my brother Steve commented on their raucous calls in one of the videos of the urban mango harvest recently.

These next birds I know well and always knew were fun songbirds to listen to. On many of my office days in June (we’ve had partial staff going in one or two days a week to try to be a bit more productive and keep a bit more common team spirit), I noticed that a pair of these myna birds seemed to enjoy my window ledge at least as much as the other bird whose photo there I had published back in January (check that out here: https://somuchworldsolittletime.wordpress.com/2020/01/18/lakes-streets-of-dhaka/) One day they were chirping and singing to each other or to their own reflections in the windwo so much that I simply had to collect a bit of video. It’s rare even with these common birds for them to be so close and still not see you since the window is mirrored and if I was quiet, they stayed a long time.

 

 

And finally, a potted plan claimed for bird-dirt-bath use by a local sparrow. For a few days, I noticed more and more dirt on the ground and wondered what – on – earth – was – happening?! I mean, yes we had heavy rain storms with wind…but no other pots created this kind of dirty footprint all around them on that balcony or any other balcony. So wtf?! Then one day I saw a little sparrow flit merrily between the bars on the balcony and flutter its wings to cover them in dirt and “bathe” itself. I assume this reduced little insects or something of that sort. Does anyone know for sure?

 


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Ok, so these two potted plants (or, as our English friends would call them, pot plants) on my balcony just kept kicking up new surprises right up until the moment of my departure. Spurred by the curiosity of so much time at home with a need to get up and walk around and look out my windows in order to unchain myself from my work-at-home computer-email-obsessive habits, I watched as the potted plant on the right sent up new stalks. I calmly assumed that, since the leaves and habit of the plants in both pots seemed quite entirely the same, that the flowers would turn out pretty much the same also. And yet, experienced liver of life that I am, I failed to recall that when one assumes, one makes as ass of yourself and myself :-). Check it out! That big close-up just above here — ain’t it cool! And yet online photo research (for reasons unknown to me, the government of Northern Territory in Australia seems to have a thing with helliconia — or at least to come up early in google searches for photos of helliconia).

To me, this new flower clearly looks like a relative but more of a cousin than a brother of the flowers coming out of the first potted plant to set flowers. To do your own comparisons, and to see yet again why it’s so easy to think those first ones to flower are in fact strelitzia (bird of paradise) flowers rather than helliconia flowers, check out the second post I did from these remarkably productive plants next to my meditation space: https://somuchworldsolittletime.wordpress.com/2020/06/15/urban-garden-13/


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So before my cousin Sam asks me where the “sign” is, let me ask a philosophical question: do not markings on roads work to communicate something to drivers? And is the purpose of a “sign” not the communication of information? Are not the markings on a flower an effort to communicate information to potential pollinators? Chew on that before you comment, young man… 🙂


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