Amidst all that’s happening in the world there are stories which make you believe that goodness still prevails and the sharp edges of the world can be molded by the moistness of love.
A close friend who is a passionate birder, over gin and tonic, once shared a beautiful story, which left me mushy in the vacuum of my cerebral.
I learnt from him, a story about compassion between two different species which led to saving lives.
A male Malabar Grey Hornbill died when it was hit by a vehicle in the Puliyilappara region in Athirappilly. Now if this was a part of an Ekta Kapoor series, we all know, there’s not much to worry about, cause the Hornbill will be reborn in another part of the country, he will avenge his death, then find his kids and live happily ever after with their mother.
But this particular Hornbill had no such luck.
Hornbills build their nest in tree cavities or rock crevasses that are sealed shut except for a narrow, vertical slit. After the female has made herself comfortable in a good nesting site the male brings lumps of soil moistened with his saliva and sometimes augmented with droppings, chewed wood, bark and other detritus. Together they build a wall of mud: he from the outside and she from the inside. The soil is applied with the side of the mouth. Once the wall is complete, the female is sealed inside the nest with only a small hole to the outside through which to get food and communicate.
The slit is about a half inch wide: wide enough to pass food through but narrow enough to seal out potential predators.
The male Hornbill constantly makes feeding trips to and fro, carrying geckos, seeds, insects, frogs, slugs, berries and occasionally snakes in it his bill, to provide enough nourishment to the female all through her incubation period which could last from 25 to 45 days. The males of some large forest species swallow fruits and regurgitate them one at a time to feed the female.
This feeding trip can increase up to 70 times a day, when the chicks are born.
During their time in the nesting, the female and her young are totally dependent on the male for food. If something happens to him, or he doesn’t return, the female doesn’t break out. Initially believing that he’s in hiding due to a looming danger, she stays put to protect her little ones.
Eventually without nourishment for days, she and the chicks are now too weak to break the mud wall and often the whole family perishes.
Now imagine what happened when the Male Malabar Grey Hornbill was hit by the car while finding food for his birdlings?
Read the moving story here on - Mathrubhumi news