By Ragoo Rao, Ethologist
Lockdown, sealed down, quarantined, COVID, Corona… these are sickening words. We are almost hearing everywhere 24X7 about mask, sanitise, wash and these are dictums. It is a dreadful period. A small sneeze from a little dust blown around is enough to either send you to a quarantine or everyone keeping away from you. What a dreadful time.
Still like the old saying goes… all is not bad in this world, there is always a brighter side to everything, including the lockdown period. People stayed home, families were better bonded, and the home was seen in an entirely new dimension. Home was not just a den to come back to but a safe dwelling place where you were the SAFEST. Even during the catastrophic times.
The brighter side to this lockdown period, at least from the point of view of the environmentalist, the naturalists and the birders, the air got cleaner, the garbage reduced and most important observation done by birders and conservationists are the appearance of wonderful species of birds, hitherto not sighted inside urban locales, owls, flycatchers, falcons to name a few, and the most happily sighted not just by the birders but to the delight of every citizen who sighted them, the Peacocks, our National Bird. The citizens in various localities, sighted these magnificent birds, not just in the fringe areas but deep inside the mohallas too.
Peacocks or more appropriately peafowl were never sighted in a free-living state inside Mysuru. Not even in the bygone days. Even Chamundi Hill did not have peacock populations in the natural way. Now there are flocks of them in Chamundi Hill, delighting every visitor with their melancholic calls.
Bogadi Lake right in the midst of Vijayanagar 3rd Stage and 4th Stage has a sizeable flock of Peafowl. Hebbal Lake, in the midst of an Industrial Layout, is hosting a good breeding flock of peafowl. There was news recently that a peacock was sighted in the vicinity behind our Chamaraja Double Road.
The residential layout close to Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel has a good flock of breeding Peafowl. A lady conservationist from Siddhartha Layout has taken a video of Peacocks next to her compound and she has started offering water and feed to them, which they are gracefully accepting.
The residents were so happy, they thought it to be a ‘Harbinger of Good Fortune’ and very shortly we will be rid of the dreaded COVID-19 grip. Looks like they were right; Coronavirus seems to be losing its grip on Mysuru. Thanks to the citizens who practiced good personal hygiene and respected the law.
Coming back to the brighter side of the lockdown period, Mysuru witnessed a good number of species of birds, hitherto not sighted inside Mysuru. We will make a detailed account of the species sighted in Mysuru city during the period.
The Peafowl, our National Pride and Bird, has blessed us with their selection of habitat inside Mysuru. The Peacock has always been revered as a ‘Vahana of Subramanyeshwara’ or ‘Karthikeya.’ It is this reverence for the birds that makes us happy to have them in our areas, considering it a blessing.