I try to look for birds wherever I travel. My bird checklist is slowly growing. Recently I met a birdwatcher in Hungary, who is very keen about birds. He lives in the capital Budapest amidst buildings but to my surprise he has maintained a checklist of balcony birds which he spotted from his balcony. Inspired by this I started to pen down the names of birds that visited our backyard.

My village is located amongst the Western Ghats of Karnataka and of course I have a very big list of birds that I could observe just within our compound. As the birds visit either the Hibiscus flowers for nectar, Mango tree for insects or Guava tree for the fruit, I get a better chance to observe them mostly through the window.

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Bulbuls  ( ಪಿಕಳಾರಗಳು ):

Bulbuls are one of the most common visitors to my backyard. Being not very shy they invade all plants for fruits and insects. They are the regular visitors to the Chilli plants that would grow in our yard. My father used to grow Beans and as soon as the flowers bloom these birds would come for the feast without invitation and eat all the flowers. Then he stopped as it was waste of his time and effort.

Red-whiskered Bulbuls  (ಕೆಮ್ಮೀಸೆ ಪಿಕಳಾರ ) :

Red-whiskered Bulbuls are more numerous in our area. They have a prominent black crest with brownish wings and whitish underparts. Presence of red patch near the eyes gave the name. During their breeding season, there will be nests within few feet distance. They are clever enough to not to go directly to their nests when they see me observing them. Pretending to go to different site will make the predators confused and thus saves the nest. But this doesn’t help every time. How long can they wait, when they have the chicks to feed! Big birds like Asian Koels, Blue-faced Malkoha and Greater Coucals are very persistent in searching every plant for eggs. I have also noticed that they hide in bigger trees to observe the bird movements and thus finding the nest.

Red-vented Bulbul (ಕೆಂಪು ಕಿಬ್ಬೊಟ್ಟೆಯ ಪಿಕಳಾರ ) :

Red-vented Bulbul is another species which pays a visit every now and then. It lacks the red feathers on its face and also has a scaly appearance on its body with a black head. Both male and female birds look similar. I got an opportunity to observe a nest of this bird everyday until the nestlings flew away.

Yellow-browed Bulbul (ಹಳದಿ ಹುಬ್ಬಿನ ಪಿಕಳಾರ) :

Strikingly beautiful Yellow-browed Bulbul is another visitor to our place. Six to eight of these birds usually join the mix hunting flock along with Drongos and Treepies. Because of their bright yellow colour, they could be easily spotted among the lush green leaves. Though I had seen them collecting the nesting materials, never succeeded in spotting their nests. They are also one of the regular visitors to small Chilli plant which we have at our place.

Flame-throated Bulbul  (ಕೆಂಪು ಕೊರಳಿನ ಪಿಕಳಾರ ) :

Another bird that I have in my list is Flame-throated Bulbul which is not a regular visitor. Apart from seeing them and admiring their colours and taking some nice pictures I haven’t really seen them very close. These birds have a black head and yellow body with a red colored throat.

Grey-headed Bulbul (ಬೂದು ತಲೆಯ ಪಿಕಳಾರ) :

Grey-headed Bulbul is the less common bird of our backyard. Once a pair of them visited a Jamun tree for fruits at our house. That was my first encounter with them. Now they show up once in a blue moon and make my day.

As the list is quite big, I will be writing them in bits. Here comes the first part of Backyard Bird series. Soon the second part will be posted.

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