Bird of the Month of October 2020 || The Rockstar Bulbul

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature


Let's talk about the month that is one of the most flamboyant - October. Most of the festivals of India line up in October. Starting from Karwachowth, when women dress up like brides or Diwali, when everyone decorates their homes and meet and greet each other. It is undoubtedly a month with a lot of swag. Not only is the weather perfect, there are interesting festivities to keep us engaged. Just like this Bulbul - when it isn't enticing us with its songs, it is busy rocking that sassy mohawk.
Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature


When it comes to songs though, I have to admit that I had imagined that the bulbul would have a much more melodious song. In my mind, it was something a little more beautiful than the song of a koel. However, I was surprised to see that the bulbuls chirp, a melodious chirp, but a chirp nevertheless. The bulbul is also known as the Asian Nightingale and in British poetry, nightingales have a special place. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature


There are so many poems written for the Nightingale by legendary poets such as John Keats, John Milton, and William Wordsworth. Sarojini Naidu was referred to as the Nightingale because of her mesmerizing poetry. So yes, I expected a full fledged song from the Bulbul. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature


I remember bulbuls from my childhood spent in Sarojini Nagar and I remember thinking that the Brahminy Starling was a type of bulbul (because of the hairdo obviously). Of course I came to know better as I grew up. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature

The species of Bulbul that we have most photographed is the Himalayan Bulbul. There are several pairs of these very stylish birds around our home in Himachal Pradesh. They are the most fearless, after the grey-backed tit, and do not mind human presence around them even as they eat the rice and grains we often spread for them in our courtyard. In fact if we happen to leave tasty, power food like dry fruits out in open, they do not shy away from stealing them either. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature

They mostly visit in pairs and if you see one bird, you know that the other will be somewhere around. And usually they hand around together in groups of 3-4 pairs. They are a gregarious lot and make a lot of noise. They often indulge in social behavior such as feeding each other, sitting on the railings and talking. Don't believe it? We have photos to prove this. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature

The other bulbul that we have managed to click is the red-vented bulbul. This is a species of Bulbul that has spread far and wide and has established itself from the Indian Subcontinent to all the way in the United States of America. The red-vented bulbuls can be commonly spotted in cities, living amid human population, nesting in the cavities in buildings and even vehicles. 

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature

It is a flexible species that feeds of anything from seeds, nectar, small insects and even house geckos at times. So yes they do manage to survive rather well in areas that are inhabited by human beings. The red-vented bulbul we photographed was in Himachal Pradesh, but we have seen the bird in cities and in bird sanctuaries all over India.   

Bird of the month, Himalayan Bulbul, bulbul, Red-Vented Bulbul, passerine birds, Birding, Bird Photography, Nature


Now that the sparrows have disappeared from most of the cities, it is the bulbuls that contribute the most to the morning bird songs and I truly appreciate them for this. I am lucky to be living in an area where we see sparrows, silverbills, bulbuls, robins, pipits etc are seen quite commonly. I do hope these birds continue to find sustenance around us. 

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