Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jerdon's Leafbird

Since we started this little bird bath two years ago, there has been a gradual increase in the number and type of birds that visit it all through the day. Since the last few weeks we noticed a pair of Jerdon's leafbirds ( Chloropsis jerdoni ) regularly arriving for a bath every evening. Poor light in the secluded area meant that photographs came out blurred. Yesterday however, I did some pruning of the nearby trees and today there was light.
I was also delighted to have both the male and the female bird in the same frame and in the above photograph the bird with the black throat patch is the male and the one with a light blue patch is the female.

Jerdon's leafbird is named in honour of Thomas Caverhill Jerdon a British physician, who while working in India from 1836 to 1870 studied the flora and fauna of the region where he was posted and eventually covered a large portion of India.

Jerdon's studies covered not just birds but also  plants, ants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Several species of plants including an entire genus (Jerdonia, ex. Indian Violet), three species of lizards, three species of snakes and a whopping thirteen species of birds are named after him. Well if that was not enough, Impatiens jerdoniae is named after his wife Flora Jerdon.

In the two years that we have maintained a bird bath, I have made the following observations about the birds choice for a bath.
Our initial bird baths were not successful because they were too deep. After trying various household items, saucers  seemed to be the item of choice.
Birds prefers shallow sided vessels, from where they can drink without slipping into the water.
A rough surface like a stone, will help the bird to grip and small birds always prefer saucers with stones and larger ones like crows and cuckoo's saucers without stones.
Ensure the saucer is on a sturdy, slightly raised surface and will not tip over. The stone serves this additional purpose.
We change water twice a day, since the heavy rush of birds during summers empties the shallow saucers in 3 to 4 hours. Birds visit soon after feeding, so morning and evenings are rush hours.
A simple bird bath is all that you need to always have birds around you- Why cage birds and steal their freedom away.   

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