My first memories of fellow Ogre Sahastra are tied to a photograph he posted in the Infosys photography club. The first was of a group of tiny, brown birds with beautiful conical beaks shining like metal, perched on a plant reduced to sticks by harsh summer. And the bird's name sounded like a wind chime tinkling.
If 'coochicooable' was a word, it would fit the Indian Silverbill
Immediately, I was intrigued by the Indian Silverbill or White-throated Munia (Euodice malabarica) and recognized it the moment I saw it in Mysore. The birds, always in a flock, perched on tall grass stalks, flitting from one to another, stealing an occasional private moment to plant tiny kisses on each other.
|The Indian Silverbill blends into its surroundings thanks to its dull plumage|
Since then I have seen them everywhere in small groups, feeding on tiny seeds of grass in scrublands. Often, their small size renders them invisible -- they are even smaller than sparrows -- and when you step into the grass, you can see ten or twenty suddenly take flight, making soft cheeping noises.
At times they huddle together on a single stalk perhaps to share body heat in a cold breeze, or face each other and peer at something far beyond, their tiny eyes tinkling.
Text and photos by Sandeep Somasekharan
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