There are very few posts where you can see me in my snaps. I prefer to stay behind the camera and capture better looking stuff than me. Needless to mention this snap was taken by one of my colleague.
Though this story is not about me. It’s about our feathered visitor who regularly visits our office cafe. ‘Black Kite’ is one of the raptor class birds which has survived and in fact thrived in my city. Despite heavy urbanization, decreasing green cover these are among the species of birds which have become a common sight in my city only if you choose to look up above towards the sky.
In this case we don’t have to look above, the predator actually comes to visits us almost I can say on a daily basis. This is one of the advantage of having your workplace inside a skyscraper. My office’s seventh floor is as elevated as a twelfth floor of a normal residential building offering us an unprecedented view of the surrounding. I might never get bored watching the view of distant horizon capped with urbanization, a patch of mangrove habitat which is still holding its place even today. I m sure this would soon give way to human encroachments. There is a small river stream flowing and bisecting the urbanization and these mangroves. Many years back this was actually a river, opening towards the sea but now it has become a gutter, allowing sewage water to flow in sea. Through the cafe’s closed glass windows I cannot smell the occasional foul smell and if one ignores the black sewage water current, then the entire view is actually very serene. We Photoshop our snaps, here I do a live editing inside my mind to craft a beautiful scene!
There are also number of shanties seen from my vantage point. These make a better habitat for black kites. There are more chances of getting food near such localities..
Black kites are fairly abundant through out Mumbai city, mostly seen over landfill sites, near shanties. They have distinct forked tail, but overall appearance is dark brown, have brown under-body, have pale patches on under wings and are mostly scavengers. This scavengers fact was a surprise for me, it means to feed on dead animals carcasses. Maybe not every time…
It could be any time of the day, it comes and rests on the extended platform just outside our office cafe window. As you can see there is hardly a distance of one feet between me and her. On second thought I wouldn’t even dare to go this near, if the glass window was left open.
I used to think that they cannot see us. Owing to bright outdoors, the outside glass wall must reflect the light acting as a mirror. This should make any views through the glass impossible for these birds. But soon we started to realize that somehow they can see us. ….
… Maybe not clearly but I think they can sense are presence. These birds are now more often come to visit us. Sometimes to take shelter from rain, or sometimes without any apparent reason. Maybe they feel there is scope of getting food. If one doesn’t make any sudden movement you can go very close to the window pane. But they are very shy and fly off as soon as they sense us.
Feels like a mute communication growing between these royal birds and us. Everyone has become used to them, and I guess even they have got used to of us.
On my brake time, I come and sit on one of the chair next to this window. Sipping a tea, I look towards the sky and find them gliding across the sky. Sometimes they fly in pair or sometimes a solo flight. It gives me a tremendous amount of joy just watching them hovering endlessly. I feel envy about them about being so free, fee to fly and I being a slave of the ground. But sometimes I feel inspired, to fly, to conquer anything that I wish, to achieve new goals.
I wait for my friend to come back and sit next to me, outside the window pavement. I wish someday we could communicate to each other. Then I will ask her the secret, and the ultimate fantasy of mine. How to soar high in the sky, how to be free… Free like a bird!
Source and Related Links:
- Birds Of Mumbai a book by Sunjoy Monga (information of black kite from the actual book I own)
- Black Kite wiki page
- Common Birds Of Mumbai