Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sunday Morning in Gurgaon

We have a very annoying peacock living nearby. Actually, more like three or four. I know. How can you complain about something as exotic as wild peacocks, but they are very big, very noisy, and very territorial. They are absolutely gorgeous, with brilliant blue heads and necks, tapering down into teal and green chests... long flowing tails – they are the perfect bird for the overly decorated and bejeweled people of India. This one sits in the tree across from the house and doesn’t move for hours.

They do, however, have a very loud call, something similar to a cat in heat, mixed with the sound of a tractor-trailer engine downshifting. I don’t know if they are calling to attract a mate or define their territories, or both. I’m hoping it’s mating, otherwise this will go on all year, not just for one season. :-) No one seems to know whether peacocks are protected in any way nor can anyone tell me anything about their nesting habits. I have yet to see the much smaller brown female.

There also seems to be a nesting pair of green parrots living in the tree just outside our front windows. They come out to eat seeds left by the neighbors and then preen their feathers while sitting on the electrical wires. They make a clucking sound, usually six to seven in a row, then wait for a call. There are split tail swallows, wrens, and sparrows but interestingly enough, no signs of the ubiquitous crow. There also black and grey birds with yellow stripes in their feathers that are only lucky when seen in pairs, plus a few random pigeons, not a lot.

I remember the delight I felt when we were visiting my aunt in New Jersey just a week ago and watched two robins in the back yard. The showiest birds in New England are blue jays, and in Chicago, the star bird was the cardinal. I think the iridescent hues of the hummingbird come the closest to the peacocks – just imagine a hummingbird the size of a turkey to understand the impact of a big male peacock. I have yet to see one fly. He’ll sit for hours in that tree and I’ll wait for him to move, only to give up, walk inside to grab a cigarette or get a drink, only to return and find him gone. I think I may begin planning for his “disappearance” sometime around Thanksgiving. I hear they are quite delicious. :-)

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