Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fierce parenting!!

They are our neighbours for a few months every year. As parents go, I have never seen a more strident pair. If you have ever felt embarrassed by how loud and vocal your parents are (and as my sons will vouch-'that too at the wrong time!'), you should see these two. They are at it 24x7. Very often, we are all in deep sleep ( a great luxury!) and off they start. They are so vocal that my dogs, Elsa and Simba, also join in, and we have to calm them down before we can get back to our dreaming. Yes, They are at it even in the middle of the night. Sometimes we wonder how they can keep at it in those loud, screechy, strident way. Speaking for myself, I would have opted for sleep over shouting ( again, my sons may not agree). But I could see how they might have had no options. I could also see, that it was love that was making them so loud.

Being birds on this predatory planet, they have to make the best of their options. I speak of the lapwings, called titvi locally ( and Titori in the north). These birds lay their eggs on the ground and the grass, shrubs and stones etc provide the camouflage (though the plastic stuff outdoes the natural, these days, in any open plot of land). Talk of unsafe homes! The dogs, the snakes, the cats and the humans, all are the danger and this before the chicks hatch. Once they hatch, it gets worse as there are kites and owls and other birds eyeing the tender morsels. Even having eyes in the back of the head might not help (as any parent who has taken a couple of kids to the mall knows) when you have four little chicks, trying to get some nourishment going in all different directions. Other birds nest in relatively safer places where the nights are relatively safer. No such luck for these birds. A scavenging stray dog is as much a problem in the day as at night. An eagle eyed kite is replaced by a sharp eyed owl. Little wonder they would rise up screeching and swooping at the predator. Love for your little ones sometimes takes the form of loud squawks and screams (Yes, my sons will second this most feelingly).

The little one is next to the black blob.

I remember when I was a new mother for the first time, the sleeplessness almost drove me out of my mind. That did not prevent me from having another go at motherhood. All of us parents have been through our share of sleep deprivation,and discuss it with anyone who cares to listen (along with all the other things that we do for our kids and how they drive our lives!). Here are a couple of " bird brains" who do it and just keep at it, with no mother's day and father's day celebrations guaranteed. Actually they do not even expect all to survive till maturity. Last year, they flew away with just one, at the end of three months, after laying four eggs. This year, so far, there are two survivors of the four hatchlings. If you think they may not be feeling as much as we do, come to their ground and watch them take you on! You, who are several times their size. Love does make one do strange things. And parenting is all about love!

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