The evening sun casts long shadows on the ground as I make my way up the walking trail. A gentle evening breeze gives me company.
As the trail winds away from the road, the hum of traffic is replaced by the sound of birds tweeting and the rustling of trees.
There are huge homesteads that are hidden from view, but I can see a wall or a window or a porch sometimes. I take deep, long breaths and continue walking.
A sudden movement in one of the trees catches my eye. I smile in delight. It is a beautiful white cockatoo.
I walk carefully, trying not to scare it away. The cockatoo is oblivious to me. He is busy pecking away at what seems to be a small fruit from the tree.
I position myself to take some pictures. After a few minutes, he hops down two branches and poses for me. His white plumage looks beautiful against the foliage. His eyes seem to look directly into mine.
He soon realizes that he’s done posing for me. He disappears into the higher reaches of the tree. I can’t see him anymore, but I suddenly hear the flutter of wings. I presume that he has flown away, back to his home in the forest nearby.
I finish my walk, and as I head back the crickets are already gossiping about their long day. I wonder if the cockatoo is back home and if he’s talking to his spouse about the crazy lady who stalked him to take pictures. I can imagine both of them sharing a good laugh.
I get back home, excited at having seen the cockatoo. And as we sit down to eat dinner, I tell my husband about the cockatoo too!!
The balcony of my mom’s living room overlooks a line of trees. Each time I visit my mom, I realize that the foliage has become thicker. The neighbourhood cricket training ground – that was once clearly visible – is now completely obscured from view.
But the trees provide their own entertainment.They host, what we call, the Evening Gossip Brigade.
My mom and I usually stand at the balcony at around 5.45 p.m. Hundreds of birds descend on these trees. Crows, mynas, sparrows and many more that we cannot see. Squirrels also flit about from tree to tree, seemingly boneless.
By 6 pm, the cacophony starts. The Evening Gossip Brigade kicks into action. We wonder aloud about all the cawing and chirping. Maybe they gossip about their long day, the places they visited, the availability of food or the lack of it, general health issues, nest discussions, love, friendship, petty fights….!
Then again, if one observes closely, there are a few loners, who sit away from the Brigade, lost in thought. Is it age or loneliness? We wonder.
There is a lot of movement between the trees and the various branches. And slowly, as if by magic, the decibel levels drop. Another bird day ends. One by one the chirping birds quieten down for the night. Except for a few birds that are clearly outlined, the arrival of twilight casts many shadows and the birds merge with the foliage.
Now and then, a small chirp or caw can be heard, maybe little baby birds asking for their moms.
The night is upon us. We wish our little birds a good night and head indoors.