When The Birds Came Home

When the birds came home

Needless to say, the past couple of months have been right out of a science fiction movie. As schools shut down in Hong Kong (where I reside), like many others we decided to fly out to our native countries because of the COVID_19 threat. Usually, my trips back home are for around 2 weeks and always incredibly rushed. The to-do list is long and the days fly by very quickly, leaving me exhausted and slightly disappointed at not having accomplished everything I set out to do and meet everyone I wanted to meet. But this time I was going to be home for the second time in two months and that too without an agenda. 

After the first couple of days that were a bit unsettling I must admit, it started to feel like I had been awarded bonus time. I had the freedom to do what I wanted to, or not do anything at all with the absolutely stunning Delhi weather proving to be the proverbial cherry on the cake. The combination of having the luxury of time, the stunning weather, and not having an agenda was all very new for me. Or rather, something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time despite coming home twice a year for the last 16 years. In fact, I couldn’t remember having the opportunity to just ‘be’ or spend quality time at home with my parents on any of my previous trips. So, I chose to spend most of my time on the terrace with my folks, soaking in the sun, while attempting to also work on my laptop.

The bird watching happened quite accidentally and feeding my feathered friends became one of my favourite things to do. Given that my trips were usually in the peak of winter or summer, neither the birds nor I had spent much time together on the terrace before. At first, it felt like I was encroaching on their territory. The birds, feeling very much at home, would come to the terrace every morning around 9 am and in the evening around 4:30 pm for what my father refers to as a “feast” of corn and bajra (millet). In fact, the peacocks come right up to the bedroom attached to the terrace lest my parents get late in bringing the feed out, knocking on the doors with their beaks. 


The peacocks, peahens, crows, doves, pigeons, sparrows, jungle babblers (and boy! do they babble), parrots, and a few others, along with some squirrels became the topic of curiosity for me and my camera. While I love taking pictures of people, most of these photoshoots are quite rushed. And I photograph jewellery for work, again something I enjoy but it gets taxing. Taking pictures of my feathered friends was a first for me and it really taught me about time and patience, and the art of staying still as the slightest sound or move would scare them away. 

Indian Myna
Indian Myna
Grey Pigeons
Grey Pigeons

Each day I would see the pigeons start to collect around 4 pm, sitting either on the roof or across from our home on an electrical wire. The peacocks and peahens would appear in the vacant property beside us, waiting for their time (usually half an hour after the pigeons have eaten). The crow would come and survey the place for food and call out to the birds, not eating any grains itself. Then a couple of pigeons would fly in, followed in seconds by a whole lot. The other birds would join in but would keep their distance from the pigeons. The squirrels were adorable and surprisingly very comfortable around me. 

Indian Palm Squirre
Indian Palm Squirrel eating Bajra

Indian Palm Squirre
Indian Palm Squirrel
Indian Palm Squirre
Indian Palm Squirrel posing for my camera

There isn’t much to this story except that some experiences happen simply because they can only happen at a certain time, under certain circumstances. I made new friends on my unplanned trip because I was there on my terrace with time and opportunity (and of course my camera). The one peacock that always came late, the lame pigeon, the two-spotted black and white pigeons (who often got bullied as well), the peahens who chose to ignore the dancing peacocks (not the most successful of courtships), and the jungle babblers or as I call them, the “angry birds”; I experienced them only because of an unexpected trip due to unforeseen circumstances. When the birds came home this February, I feel in many ways so did I. 

Laughing Dove

Grey and White Pigeons
Grey and White Pigeons
White Dove
White Dove

The things that I have learnt :

  • Corn is the preferred treat more than bajra.
  • There is a fat pigeon who is quite the bully.
  • There is a certain corner on my roof where pigeon couples love to…well you know!
  • The sparrow population in Delhi is quite depleted now because of radiation from cell phone towers.
  • Peahens love to tease. 
Indian Green Parrot
Indian Green Parrot
Jungle Babbler
Jungle Babbler

Click on the photos to see the full picture

Read more by Shikha Lamba


Image Credit : Shikha S. Lamba
All images are subject to copyright

46 thoughts on “When The Birds Came Home”

    1. Absolutely Ruchi. I feel so blessed that we have such wonderful creatures living around us. Thanks for reading 🙂

  1. Beautiful article – Covid has taught us to take a break and appreciate the time we have with family, and just step back from the race we subject ourselves to.

    The birds sound like us with the bully and the coupling!!

    1. Thank you so much for reading Akanksha 🙂 Yes, in fact I have some pictures of pigeon couples that I’m going to share with you 🙂

  2. Seeing photos of Peacocks make a me so nostalgic, reminds me of my visits to Jaipur as a young girl. We used to wake up to peacocks in our garden and tip toe around as not to disturb them and wait for them to spread their wings 😊

    1. Wow! they really are gorgeous creatures, aren’t they! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece.

  3. What a beautiful article Shikha, so refreshing in its simplicity…… your ” bird watching”, I loved the expressions on the last lines of the article about “coming home” with them !! Simple Joy’s and yet such profound feelings. Kudos, really enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thank you so much for reading. I’m so happy you enjoyed it. next time I must come to take pictures of the birds around where you live 🙂

  4. A beautiful read! Enjoyed it thoroughly a reminder that that at times we should sit back n connect with nature loved the pics!

  5. Beautiful depiction of nature. Birds were made to look like characters in a story! Enjoyed it 👍😊

  6. A great recount of the time you got to spend here with God’s creatures Shikha. In a way, I need to thank you for making me more aware of how they go about with their daily routine of keeping body and soul together albeit, with a little help from us humans. Yes, from the very same humans who quite forgot how and are currently undergoing a much needed refresher course.
    Incidentally, the lame pegion who we developed a soft corner for, gave up on life soon after you left. I felt a personal loss at his going.

    1. That is just so sad to hear Papa. But I’m glad we could look after it while it was alive. So happy you liked the piece 🙂

  7. Beautiful pictures, gorgeous friends and a well written story. Delhi in a different light and yes totally because of unforeseen conditions. You used your time very well.

  8. Astounding photographs… and so well woven in your article . Feels like I too know the bully and the flirty peahen too ….and their routine.. we all are slaves of a routine.
    Your last line… about coming home is so beautiful…even though it was after 16 years you experienced that feeling..home is where your heart is !

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I haven’t had the opportunity to spend time like this at home for many years.

  9. Beautiful pics and a wonderful narrative around it Shikha – sounds like a very blissful trip back home 🙂

  10. Beautiful photos and article too.
    Happy to see you enjoyed your time in your homeland. It’s true connect with a nature is connection with yourself.
    Yea, the choice is entirely up to us, whether we look positively or negatively at the whole situation around the virus. I see it as a blessing as like usual in a life challenges come and go. But definitely we should not forget the lesson Mother Nature imposed to us.

  11. Beautifully Written !!!
    U always add a new dimension , a life .. to the simple & ordinary and make it soooo meaningful . Super like 😘

  12. What a deep dive into the lives of these beautiful beings. The images all while emotion and seem to speak a zillion words. Loved it

  13. So lovely and beautifully written. These challenging times certainly have given us the time to go within, reflect and notice so much more that is around us. Birds visiting, basking in the sun, chirping away. How unaffected they are by all that’s going around the planet – simple ordinary things we rarely notice have begun to surface. Thank you for this lovely article I ❤️ this bit on experiences
    “There isn’t much to this story except that some experiences happen simply because they can only happen at a certain time, under certain circumstances. “

    1. Thank you so much Seema. I am indeed blessed to be able to experience such beautiful creatures around my home in Delhi. They calmed me down a lot during these times.

  14. Wow. What a great experience! Although we are amidst the difficult period, I’m glad you looked at things in a different perspective. Connecting with nature is very rare because we don’t have time from our busy lives. I’ve only started to reconnect with nature after I had my fur babies and I have to take them for a walk. Thanks for sharing. You have captured such lovely pictures!

    1. Thank you so much for reading Kyra. I feel very blessed I got the opportunity to experience them this time.

  15. Well-expressed Shikha.Small details and observations bring out the extra-ordinary. Congrats!Its nice to see your way with words and pictures:)

  16. Shikhs I absolutely loved reading your article and what outstanding photos! Goes to show how we take so much for granted even when it’s right in front of our eyes. Really teaches us to sit back and learn to enjoy the simple but remarkable realm of nature and life in general.
    Keep it up!

  17. Such an amazing gift for kids and you to be close to nature! Lucky you experienced such a blissful time in Delhi. I absolutely enjoyed reading the narrative. Much love

    1. Thank you so much for reading Sheetal 🙂 We really were blessed to get the opportunity to spend that time with family.

  18. Loved reading this, Shikha, and what a good lesson for all of us: to open our eyes to what’s around us and that this pandemic is giving us the opportunity to do so. Loved the lessons you learned from your feathered friends—they do have distinct personalities!! And really loved the photos, too. Yes, we have much to learn from all our more-than-human neighbors. What fun for your kids, too. Thank you, Shikha!

    1. Thank you so much for reading Holly 🙂 We really were blessed to be able to spend the time we did with our family in March. Not sure about when we will be able to travel to India next. These moments are even more precious now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *