By Ragoo Rao, Ethologist,
[Pic. by SOM reader H.S. Sreeranjini]
T.P. What…? Who is it? Sounds like a pedigree name for a nobleman, from an aristocrat family!!! Relax, it’s neither a nobleman nor a pedigree name for a Royal Family. It’s just the Taxonomical name for a Pigeon. The Yellow-footed Green Pigeon. Hasiru Paariwala in Kannada, Hariyal in Hindi-speaking areas and it has the honour of being the State Bird of Maharashtra.
Pigeons are a very familiar bird, both in urban and rural areas. They need no introduction. They are sighted in hundreds in Temples, Masjid minarets and as free-living pets in many homes. In fact, Pigeons are the only birds, that can be raised as a free-living bird. The Pigeons come in various colours and sizes and they are named after the colour, size and sub-species. Whatever size and colour the Pigeons occur in, they all have one thing in common, Red Legs (barring two subspecies, which have a greyish colour legs).
This is where our today’s Pigeon steps in, steps in with Yellow Legs. The only member of the Columbidae family of Pigeons and Doves, to have such beautiful yellow coloured legs — The very reason they are called Yellow-footed Green Pigeons. They have yellowish olive-green body, duller above with a blue grey crown. Forehead, face often suffused pale olive-green. They have lilac patch on the shoulders and a conspicuous yellow bar in the blackish wings. A beautiful bird, that shuns human settlements, but stays on the fringes of villages and small hamlets.
These birds are fruit-eaters and they love the Indian ficus fruits. Any ficus tree in fruit-bearing season, (Ala, Goni, Athi, Arali etc.) is the right place to sight these birds. Being very shy and sensitive birds, approaching them itself is a difficult aspect. Very quiet by nature, living all by themselves, not pestering any of our farmers crops, these birds are very symbol of Peace and Serenity. These birds’ pair for life, with a lifelong bondage. They raise their young in a clumsy stick-laid nest in thorny trees. A gentle bird, devoted to their family and flock, not pestering any crop of ours, needs all the respect and protection we can offer.
The Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, our very own Hasiru Paariwala, does not ask us for anything other than ‘Just leaving them alone… to lead their lives.’