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This is a sad, yet interesting story that I saw unfold in two months. A ‘dead’ coconut tree near the basketball court was a hub of activity and a photographer’s delight.

During my initial days of birding (second week of April 2020), this was a spot that I saw myself drawn to more often. There were three spotted owlets, that made a home in one of the holes, resulting in most bird enthusiasts spend hours near this tree.

The Mynas decided to go for the balcony view and made the top hole their home.

Around the same time, there were three Black-rumped flameback Woodpeckers, figuring out their real estate concerns and looking around for a spot.

Thanks to one of the first heavy rains in April, the top half of this tree gave away and the Mynas lost their top spot. The real-estate mafias that they are, they started looking at the bottom spaces in the tree.

But not without a fierce battle with the Woodpeckers, much to the amusement of the Owlets.

After days of battle, I think a consensus was arrived at and the Mynas took the second hole followed by the Woodpeckers on the third one.

The Woodpeckers made a family and raised their little ones.

Five days before the disaster, we even got a chance to see the male Woodpeckers, feeding the juveniles.

On 30th, May, 2020, as part of the annual drive by the community (cutting dead trees), they ended up cutting this tree without being aware that this really wasn’t a ‘dead’ tree but a true living one which had three families in it.

I do hope that, as a community, we are a little more sensitive towards these beautiful birds and take appropriate measures so that their homes are not destroyed like this. The only saving grace in this story is that two days before the tree was felled, the Woodpecker juveniles did manage to fly. Hence, probably safe somewhere else right now and writing a new script.


  • Prashanth Palanisamy says:

    Great write up. The tree was truly a lesson in how we perceive things. On how we assume things which are dead to us is of so much value to others.

  • Renee Choudhury says:

    I was very disturbed when I heard that the tree was felled. The broken logs reminiscence of what was once a home to the wonderful birds and a spot for us humans to gather and observe their daily lives unfolding.

    Thanks for writing about it Sandeep.
    Am happy that the birds had time to gather wings & hopefully find another home.
    Your note is a reminder that something that has lost value for us is not necessarily worthless.
    Ask the owls and the mynas 🙂

    • Natasha says:

      Lovely read Sandeep. It’s a true reflection of our overwhelming need to “neaten up” without understanding the implications. While pruning and occasional cutting and clearing in landscape may be needed minimally,- it should be done with caution as we may loose so many habitats. Our idea of aesthetics needs a rethink.


    Wonderful read this was. Just a reminder that we share our community with many others, and every action we take has consequences, and so, needs to be taken after much deliberation.

  • Shataparna says:

    Lovely read 🙂 keep writing and tickling our minds !

  • Deb says:

    We can’t control nature, when our houses are taken away by calamities or when the fury of nature erupts trees and vegetation. However, what we can control is how we approach nature, what we do with Nature. Broadly this is a lesson for all of us – while the people who cut the trees may be only doing their duty, we commit may others knowingly or unknowingly while doing our “duty”. Maybe this will teach us to pause and introspect.

    BTW, I loved the narrative – esp the slider at the end. Not the before/after you would want to see, but that’s the reality. I wish the slider could be reversed.

  • Ashok K Mathur says:

    An excellent article to learn from. We are leaving in an environment and eco friendly community should be sensitive enough towards all such issues. Unfortunately one large healthy tree was also cut ruthlessly by footprint community just opposite Resonance gate. God only knows if any permission was obtained from forest auth or not.

  • Ganapathy PG says:

    Very interesting. The only good reason to cut it would have been to prevent it from snapping one stormy day and harming someone walking past. If there was indeed such a reason, we should still have ensured the safety of the living creatures in it before unscrupulously cutting it. And, should let it be if it was strong enough to hold itself for a few more years.


  • Rina says:

    Superb read and what pictures! Thank you for sharing your enjoyment with us. The empathy and patience is beautiful in its own right. Pushed me right out of my comfort zone.

  • Sriram says:

    Well articulated and a great way to chronicle the lives of others in our midst. Any info on the owl and myna, by any chance?

  • Ravi Srinivasan says:

    A truly moving tale. Having visited this few times to see the Spotted Owls, could relate to their life story. Very well written.

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