Lifescapes Gallery

23 / Sep / 2009
Honey, I shrunk the bird!
Little Ringed Plover, Kabini Photograph: Ganesh H. Shankar Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

Honey, I shrunk the bird!

He’s small. Very small. But, size apart, there’s nothing little about this plover. This low flying sentinel of the wetlands is a lot of bird in a small frame, with a large bag of tricks up his sleeve. Consider, for starters, the patented ‘Broken Wing Feint’. When danger threatens his nest, he pretends to have a broken wing and drags himself slowly away from the nest with the predator following, ready to pounce, and at the last moment the ‘broken’ wing miraculously heals and our avian Houdini flies away leaving the startled poacher clutching at straws, rather than a plump little plover. He’s a real miser and artfully employs an unpaid ‘External Security Agency’ by the sneaky method of building nests near aggressive shorebirds whose presence keeps predators at bay. But when such services are unavailable, he uses the free ‘Dial-an-Assistant’ service to get an extra plover to help out with nest duties. Perhaps a case of ‘two’s company; three’s security’. When it comes to wooing a woman, you and I could be excused for having butterflies in the stomach, but our intrepid hero has them in his mating dance by using a ‘Butterfly Routine’ of circling endlessly with slow wing-beats, till she says, ‘I Do!’ Next in his repertoire, is the trademarked ‘Foot Trembling’ technique, which entails standing on one foot, whilst rapidly vibrating the other, to drive out small, hidden prey, for a quick, on-shore snack. Now, we’ve all heard about a bird’s eye view, but the Little Ringed Plover allows us an insight into a bird’s I Q. So the next time someone disparagingly calls you ‘bird brained’, you could politely suggest they go and see a shrink.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 9:36 am and is filed under Birds, Kabini . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. Sangeetha says:

    Awesome photo!Gerald Durrell’s sense of humour in recounting the engaging tale of the Plover. As Durell set us all a challenge “Animals are the great voteless and voiceless majority,who can only survive with our help”.Thanks for conserving. Looking forward to more..

  2. S. Devanand says:

    Lovely pic and copy that gives you a bird’s-eye view into this creature’s life, with oodles of humour. Why, this bird seems to have more corporate proprietary tools up its wing than most patent lawyers have seen in their lives! Keep ‘em coming!

  3. priyanka says:

    nice pic nd evocative writtings :p

  4. neesha says:

    Thats really a good photography!!!!

  5. Asha says:

    The write up goes very well with the pic….He has naughtiness written all over him 🙂

    Enjoyed reading it!

    Enlightened 🙂

  6. Ashok Sanjeev says:

    Wonderful photograph and an equally good write up,looking forward to seeing and reading more of it

  7. Ramesh Abhichandani says:

    A Reality in the picture, it looks like that you are Personally there and watching the bird eating insects…….Salute to the NATURE….

  8. Harjee Kapur says:

    Awesome picture.
    And the bird brain thing, I am going to use 😉

  9. Gauri says:

    ‘With a large bag of tricks, up his wings you mean?? Hehehe Rajesh, once again a well written piece, replete with the ‘Rajesh-effect!!

    Oh and beg pardon for my ignorance, but I didnt know such a bird existed…not that I’m much of an Ornithologist anyways…:)

    Carry on with this wit-laced info and educate us lesser blessed…:)

  10. digvijay says:

    Nice pic and and lovely writing-evocative, informative and funny.

  11. Muffadal Hakim says:

    This is one of its kind resort which educates its guests about the enviroment and entertains them within it. Kudos Orange County! Keep up the good work and looking forward to such inspiring fare from Coorg too.

  12. Aishwarya Mohan says:

    its nice to know that so much info can be packed into so few words and in such a witty manner and that learning can actually bring to my face:)
    thanks guys:)

  13. hdhruva says:

    Awesome…awaiting the next instalment…keep up the good work…

  14. George Varghese says:

    Dear Ones,
    Thank you for that “bird knowledge” presented in a humorous way. My kids enjoyed it.
    With prayers for your success,
    Andrew George

  15. Suja says:

    Excellent write up! and ofcourse beautiful photograph.. keep up the good work!

  16. Vikram Nanjappa - Chief Naturalist Orange County Kabini says:

    The Little Ringed Plover is easily recognisable because of its black head pattern and yellow eye ring.They build their nests mainly on gravelly river banks, lake shores, or small islands, usually near fresh water.The nest is a simple shallow scrape, sometimes lined with plants or stones.They usually lay four pale yellow eggs with small dark spots.Young fledge in 24-29 days.Breed in the South between December to June.

  17. Shweta Jagadesh says:

    A very clean and sharp image by Mr. Ganesh.
    Though the bird is small but it values for much with its good title and write up.

  18. Nandakumar says:

    I was tempted to open the mail immediately, the moment I saw it was from Orange County, and as always the picture was a treat to the eye. Congrats Ganesh for capturing the details so well. And of course the write-up gives an interesting insight into its behaviour.

  19. Diwakaran Nair says:

    wonderful story once again.
    my children are big fans and called me in office to tell me new issue has come. This is again a fantastic photo, and very wittily written story. I prefer more like this than in last issue which was not to our liking as photo was too ordinary. keep it up and stick to the wildlife. It is much more enjoyable for us casual readers.

  20. Sheetal Shah says:

    Beautiful pics…all whichever has been sent with the information.
    Keep on sending …

  21. shivu.k says:

    Vow! what a Shot.!

    Rare moment to catch this photography. good background. well sharpness, and well composed by photographer.

    Congratulation to Ganesh.H.Shankar

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