The Oriental White Eye is a small bird, even smaller than a sparrow. It has conspicuous white circles around its eyes, distinctive eye ring, making it look like a bird wearing spectacles. Its upper parts and neck is yellow-olive green in color. It is white in breast and belly.
This bird is usually found in flocks on blossoming trees and shrubs and it seldom comes to ground. Many a times its soft, low tseer tseer song is heard and only when you look hard, does it come into view. It gets camouflaged easily in the surrounding because of its yellowy-green body.
It is a resident bird but shows seasonal movements. When the flesh tearing cold starts to buckle down around February, it begins to arrive here in Delhi. It breeds here from April to June-July. My kids like to watch it with interest because it shows good acrobatics in its search for insects.
Yesterday while driving to home with kids, hubby dear rang us that instead of going to home, we first come to the park. He was speaking in hushed voice so we could not figure out what was it that he called for. As we entered the park, he could be spotted from far, with a camera hanging around his neck and looking intently at blooming Firebush plant. So we knew in an instant that there is a bird!
He told us that he spotted OWE with its juvenile. By then the bird has dodged him and he was unable to find it again. He suggested a quiet stroll to hear the OWE voice and particularly, a small baby bird’s voice. We walked to and fro, quietly and heard a soft voice. We were looking hard in Firebush plant when we heard even softer voice which felt like a voice of some young one of bird. We looked and looked and found the parent looking even harder at us. All of us backed away a step and two and Aha! The parent bird was with a juvenile who has learned to fly, but was not able to fly more in one go.
The younger looked all fluffy and soft and delicate in its softer than feather plumage. It had acquired its greenish color on upper body but had yet to get the white spectacles. A yellow patch at the throat was all there instead of a proper greenish neck and throat. And its abdomen had furry appearance, making it look cute and adorable.
As we kept watching it from a distance, the adult flew away into the dense canopy of the nearby Jhadfanoos tree( Sausage tree) and came back soon with a caterpillar in its mouth. How intelligently nature makes a delicate balance! It is the season for butterflies to lay eggs which grow up in a caterpillar before turning into butterfly. Most chicks of the birds, even if the adult is mainly feeding on grains and berries, need insect in their diet because they need more protein than carbohydrates to grow up. Caterpillar are the most common diet of young ones of many birds. It keeps the population of caterpillars in check, who otherwise eat large number of leaves. Birds are vital link in keeping check on population of insects like termites, grasshoppers, dragon flies and many more.
When a party of cycling kids swooshed down, the juvenile OWE flew, from one bush to another at a time, under the supervision of its parent, who could have been a male or female, as both the sexes take equal part in rearing the offspring.
A baby’s evening out!
Hindi Name : Baboona
Diet : insects, berries and nectar
Residential Status : resident with seasonal movements
Population : very common
Where to see : It is a garden bird in Delhi and can be seen in parks and gardens.