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Wingspan

Photograph of a bird in flight

Photograph of a bird in flight

Sultanpur National Park, a small nature reserve in the northern part of India, is an excellent place to observe several different species of local and migratory birds.

Painted Storks such as this one are one of the largest bird species found in the park. They can have wingspans as wide as five feet and can weigh up to 3.5 kilograms. Their bright orange heads and beaks make them easy to spot. While many storks are migratory, this particular species isn’t. Painted storks are mostly found in marshy wetlands across South Asia, and also in some places in Eastern Asia.

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Pigeon

Photograph of Pigeon

Photograph of Pigeon

The population of pigeons in my city has grown exponentially in the past decade or so. All day, every day, hundreds of the grey birds can be seen. They are usually either flying around in groups or standing seemingly aimlessly on roads, ledges, windowsills or whatever else they find. In recent years, the pigeons have spent a lot of time in close proximity with humans, and they have therefore grown bolder. They are now more difficult to shoo away, and have become pests in many areas with their croaking and tendency to leave a trail of unsightly green-and-white masses behind them.

In this photograph, a pigeon is standing on the ledge of my balcony and stretching. While doing so, the normally unobserved pattern of the pigeon’s wing comes into view.

(Submitted to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: “Earth“)

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Ruffled

Photograph of a pigeon with ruffled feathers

Photograph of a pigeon with ruffled feathers

The pigeon sat perched in one of it’s favourite spots – the roof of the blue shed just outside the house of the humans. He was reflecting philosophically on what had just transpired. One of the humans, while watering the plants in the balcony, had clumsily sprayed some water from the hose onto the pigeon. It was probably accidental, of course, but the pigeon was in no mood to see the funny side. This had happened far too often in the past few weeks, and he was starting to think that the humans got some twisted satisfaction by spraying water on the helpless pigeons. As he sat there and ruffled his feathers to get rid of the water, he wondered why humans behaved like they did. Did they not care anyone but themselves? Not able to extract any meaningful answers from his deep contemplation, the pigeon flew off and forgot about the incident.

The above story, although made-up, probably accurately reflects the thoughts that run through the minds of animals living in urban settings. Often humans get so tied up in their own lives that they forget that they are not the only living beings around. The spraying of water on a pigeon is one of the smallest possible results of this ignorance. Larger and much more serious implications include the extinction of animal habitats.

Since the industrial revolution, humans have rapidly usurped the natural habitats of animals for their own residential, agricultural and industrial purposes. This has led to the extinction of several thousands of species of plants and animals. It is estimated that between 0.1% and 0.01% of all species go extinct every year. This may not seem like a lot, but that means that if there are a total of a 100 million species on earth, between 10 and 100 thousand of them go extinct every year! If the growth in human population and their ignorance continues, the earth will soon be robbed of all natural diversity and life itself may end on the planet.

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Perched

Photograph of a White Bird

Photograph of a White Bird

A real scarcity of food had hit the small family of birds living in the hollow of an old tree. The regulars of the birds, including worms, flies, honeybees and dragonflies, had all been wiped out by the intense cold. Even the tree in which they lived, which normally retained a small amount of leaves during the winter, had lost all of its leaves and life. Times were truly difficult. The youngest and most active member of the family Jim had an idea to find food. His plan was to find a high vantage point and look for any signs of movement from there. He searched for quite a while for the perfect location before it struck him – the perfect point had been right above him all along. The tree in which his family and he lived was a good twenty-five meters tall – easily high enough to scan the neighbouring areas from. He flew up and perched himself on a firm branch. For the next few hours Jim observed and reported any sign of potential food to his brother down in the hollow, who would go investigate and fetch the food if there was any. Through this plan the family found ample food to survive through the winter and live to see another beautiful spring. 

This photograph was taken in the world famous Jim Corbett National Park. Known primarily for its plentiful tigers, the park actually has a lot else to offer. Spotted-deer, sambar-deer, eagles, vultures, jackals, bears and alligators can all be seen in this prime example of unaltered nature. 

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Hiding Pigeon

Picture of Pigeons

Picture of Pigeons

In this photograph, the pigeon in front appears to have three wings because of the perfect placement of the other pigeon behind it. At the moment when this photograph was taken, the two pigeons actually seemed to be fighting (or dancing). The edges of the wings appear slightly blurry because the pigeons were flapping them violently during their fight (or dance). The motion of the wings led them to appear blurry in the photograph.

(Entered in the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge “Motion“.)