Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Friendly Munias

Birds and dogs becoming friends? Ever heard that?
Right here in our garden in Secunderabad India, we have seen it happen. This story is about tiny birds called 'Silverbills', Indian Silverbills to be precise. 

Also called Silverbill munia मुनिया or white-throated munia as in the picture above. Munias are small love birds, many times caged and kept as pets. In India, there is a famous film song:
चलत मुसाफ़िर मोह लिया रे 
पिंजरे वाली मुनिया 
Roughly translated it means 'the traveller's heart was won over by the caged munia'. So much for the attractiveness of munias.

According to Wikipedia, the adult Indian silverbill is 11–11.5 cm 
long and has a conical silver-grey bill, buff-brown upper parts, 
white underparts, buffy flanks and dark wings. See the portrait below.

These munias are known to be gregarious and are found in flocks 
of as many as 60 birds. We observed up to 30 birds in our garden as you will see in the video.

Silverbills feed on grass seeds. These seeds are not as hard as bajra or millet. The birds break open the outer shell and eat only the inner seed. The discarded shell being so light just flies away with the wind. These Munias also teach us team work. See the video.

Coming back to the story of birds and dogs becoming friends. In this video, you will hear the bark of a neighbour's dog walking down the lane. The birds ignored the 'familiar' bark and kept feeding on the seeds. Similarly, when our regular vegetable hawker passed by, the birds did not fly away. But when another dog who lives few houses away passed by, the birds sensed the danger and flew away. Another video for you. 

Birds are part of Nature's food chain. Cats in the enclave jumped at the bird feeder tossing it over. We saw the bird feeder lying in the flower beds. Then we could connect two and two together. Closer observation revealed the cats crouching and stalking the munias. Though I could not take a picture of the cats in action, but it was a warning for us. We had to find a safer place for the bird feeder. See what Neeta did for the munias. Short video for you.

We placed it on the roof. It worked. But soon the cats also discovered the new place and started stalking the munias on roof top. This posed a challenge to us. Neeta applied her mind and suspended the feeder from the parapet. See the picture below.

We heaved a sigh of relief. Birds are safe from the cats. At least for the moment.

Ever seen munias in conversation? See the male munia appreciating the female sitting next to it. And how the female seems to 'ignore' the compliment! Does it not usually happen with us humans too? Picture for you.

Birds have always fascinated Gumakkad. Some of the previous picture stories on birds are listed below-- just click the link to browse:
Birds of Tadoba- A Tiger Reserve

Giving birds a life

Kolleru- The Pelican Paradise

Ranganathittu- Where you can talk to the birds

Hope you enjoyed the encounter with friendly munias. Do share your experiences and pictures. Would be happy to append it to the blog!

Thanks for browsing.

    -Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 26th April 2016

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