I have a bird feeder outside our bedroom of our 21st storey apartment.
It’s a simple plastic tray I fixed over a year ago to the railing of the balcony in the hope of attracting alexandrine parakeets that are constantly flying around.
For reasons beyond me, despite my best efforts, the parakeets never showed up.
Instead, visiting common mynas had this messy habit of spraying the feed all over the balcony. Worried that this may inconvenience passers-by below I stopped topping up the tray and it’s been empty ever since.
About a fortnight ago, my afternoon siesta (one of the many ‘lockdown’ perks) was disturbed by a shrill bird cry outside the bedroom. Peeping from behind the curtain I saw this beautiful black kite that had planted himself on the feeder and was screeching for all he was worth.
Since then the bird shows up every day.
It is usually during mid to late afternoon and the drill is the same. It’ll stand in the middle of the feeder and screech away like there’s no tomorrow. Each time he comes I rush to put food in the tray but I am now beginning to wonder if it’s really food he is after. Although he does eat occasionally, most of the time he ignores the food and simply screeches.
It’s almost as though – dare I say it – he is trying to communicate with us.
The image below was clicked by my son on a family vacation to the Wildernest Resort at Chorla Ghat south of Goa in September 2015.
A red pierrot butterfly came out of nowhere and sat on my hand. It was taken around the time of my mother’s death anniversary and when I posted it on social media a friend replied that it is a common belief that departed loved ones often use wildlife to make contact with us especially on landmark occasions.
I am the type who prefers neat and scientific explanations and anything to do with the supernatural scares the life out of me. (It is the main reason why I steer well clear of movies like The Omen and The Exorcist!)
I must admit though, there have been instances in both my personal and professional life where I have been a firsthand witness to situations that have pushed the meaning of the word ‘coincidence’ to its absolute limits.
In May 2013 I was alone at my farmhouse in Goa when the image below of an Asian koel was taken. Asian koels are shy birds. Most people will be familiar with their unmistakable call yet only a few will have actually seen one.
When this female decided to fly onto one of the lower branches of a bare Gulmohar tree barely 20 metres away and, for the next 5-10 minutes proceed to entertain me with a jaw-dropping display of feathers it defied a logical explanation. The fact that the incident took place around the date of my Late Mum’s birth anniversary demanded that I drag my head out of the sand and at least be willing to consider the possibilities.
Try Googling the terms ‘dearly departed’ and ‘signs’.
The search results are a startling revelation of the large following of people that truly believe departed loved ones communicate with us.
Having said that, it is common knowledge that man is probably the most gullible species in existence. We can be made to believe anything!
From our unshakable belief that a mumbled prayer and a wave of the hand can and will grant us instant absolution, to our unquestioning willingness to gamble everything we own on the promised efficacy of a miracle cure, we are arguably, the biggest suckers on the planet.
Browsing through some of the hits on the afore-mentioned google search only helps to strengthen my case.
A bereaved widow sees a red breasted robin hop onto her porch and is convinced that it is her spouse telling her that all is well across the Styx. Another watches a pair of beetles mating on a window pane and takes it as a reassurance from her late husband that they will mate for all eternity.
I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the drift.
Be that as it may, even the most cynical amongst us have faced situations where the sequence of events could not be rationally explained. Leaving us bewildered and wondering… How in God’s Name did that happen?!
Early last year the father of a close friend passed away. We were treating him for cancer and he succumbed to complications. Shattered by their loss the family decided to spend some time at their farmhouse immediately after the funeral.
Below is the message and one of the images she sent to me of an incident that took place less than a week after his passing.
“A bizarre thing happened just now. A small bird came to my bedroom glass door and would not leave. P., the cleaner, brought it to me. It allowed me to pet his head and under the feathers. It didn’t even flinch. Then I asked P. to set it down …it didn’t fly away. Allowed me to take pics of it at close range. Then allowed me to pet it again. I thought it was hurt so brought water for it. It refused to drink but allowed me to touch his beak with water. I pet it some more and then in a jiffy flew away to the palms above and stayed there till I finished my work in the garden. When I came back …it took one look at me and flew away.
I know this sounds weird and I may sound cuckoo but I can’t but help know that it was dad who came back to tell me he was ok wherever he is. 💐”
The bird is a long-tailed shrike. Not a very common species especially in urban areas and most definitely not as domesticated as a house sparrow or a blue-rock pigeon.
I’ve been a wildlife enthusiast for most of my life and a hardcore birder for well over a decade. Let me tell you… occurrences like these simply do not ‘just happen’! Couple that with the timing of the incident and, like I said before, even the most cynical of us can’t help but sit up and wonder…
Pet lovers too I’m sure will also relate to this blog.
Most pets have a short life span during which time they have an uncanny knack of working their way into our hearts. We lost our 14 year old labrador, Buffy, in March 2019 and not a day goes by that we don’t think of her or feel her presence.
A few days after she died I had to make a trip to Goa where the most bizarre incident took place that remains unresolved to this day. I had written a blog with some of the details and will post the link at the end of this piece for you to judge for yourselves.
So… back to our friend the black kite…
Could it really be a message from a dearly departed? Or is it just another instance of the bird finding another sucker to bum an easy meal off?
Ah, well! We’ll never know for certain, will we?!
I guess I will have to be satisfied with the fact that it did provide for some nice blog material and also wonderful images for my online store that I hope to open shortly.
As promised earlier, the following is the link to the article I did on our labrador, Buffy.