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.