March 11, 2021
My friends tell me that I tend to write over-lengthy gush in some of my newsletters. This month I am keeping my prose noticeably short as I wanted to send you a sweet story that I was sent about a few people who helped nature along its way at a small lodge in the middle of rural India.
TEAMWORK CAN MAKE THE WORLD GO ROUND
Those of you who have visited our lodge this season will know about the dead tree, just beside our entrance bridge. A pair of Coppersmith Barbet did make their nest in one of the holes of the dead tree.
We are always very careful to not disturb any nesting bird. This tree was located in such a way, that while crossing the bridge, you could not help but getting a glance of the birds. Our kitchen is quite a distance away from the tree, but with a decent camera and binoculars, one could observe the birds without causing any harm or disturbance to the birds.
Sadly on 1st April morning, when Arko and Mohan came for breakfast to the kitchen, they were told by Sohan, our chef and Heera, his assistant, that the langurs (monkeys) have destroyed the tree early morning. Two Barbet chicks were found lying on the ground, helpless and exposed.
Of course, it was heart breaking.
Heera rushed to pick up the two chicks and a piece of the tree trunk, which had the nest inside. He placed the chicks back inside and tried to hang it from the bridge. The idea was to keep them safe from predators and comfortable in their nest, with the hope that maybe the mother will come back and take care of the chicks.
The team was waiting to see whether or not the parents would come back. Arka and Mohan kept a watch from our kitchen area, but there was no sign of the two adult birds and day was getting hotter and hotter. The two tiny chicks exposed to that heat, was an unsafe situation.
Finally, our naturalists decided to take the two chicks in the shade and tried their best to feed them with some raisins and other fruits. Thankfully, the chicks responded well. They were given water and food from time to time throughout the day and the chicks got used to the presence of both Mohan and Arka.
And then came the tough part: fixing the completely damaged tree trunk and manage to keep the nest intact. The Barbets make holes in the tree barks and in this case, the entire tree was shattered into pieces. It was indeed a difficult job to put it back together.
Sohan has an amazing gift of fixing things. He stepped forward to help and with his expertise, the team fixed the entire tree, putting the pieces together, like a puzzle.
The chicks were placed inside their nesting hole and the broken tree was placed again, in its original place. With the help of strong ropes and metal strings, it was held in place.
The team did their best, but it was only half the job done, as till then, there was no sign of the parents around.
Sitting. Waiting. Watching -> a lock down in a different world.
Finally the mother returned. She was sitting on the fixed tree, inspecting it thoroughly and finally entering the hole, which had the chicks inside.
Arka still wanted to confirm if the birds would continue with the nest or abandon it. But next morning it was clear – the birds were again bringing food for the chicks!
And so they will live happily ever after.
Much love from the forest dwellers
Isa and Karan with Dhansingh, Mohan, Arko, Sohan, Heera and the rest of the Team.
Although the gorgeous glamour of so many Indian hotels does enthral there are hidden treasures and low-key places such as the one where this story unfolded. Flame of the Forest.
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