21 May 2016

Parakeets and India's Birdman

To view an earlier posting on Arunachala Birds on the Rose Ringed Parakeet please visit this link here and for additional details and information about this bird visit this link here

Below is an abridged extract from the excellent 1915 “Garden and Aviary Birds of India” by Frank Finn which includes some more unusual details and varieties of this bird. 

Selection of photos showing the Parakeet eating

Female drinking flower nectar

The Typical Parrots 

“The Typical Parrots form the largest family, such species as the well-known Grey Parrot of India, the Amazons and Macaws of America, and all our Indian Parrots, belonging to it. The small long-tailed kinds are called Parakeets or Parroquets. The Parrots of this family are hardly ever crested, nor do they have a brush tongue. 

The Common Indian or Rose-Ringed Parakeet (Palaeornis Torquatus) is about sixteen inches long, about ten of which belong to the tail; in colour it is green with a red bill and white eyes. The male has a black throat, the black running a little way on each side to join a rose-pink collar which extends around the back of the neck. 

Male eating

Male eating perched in tree

Young birds of both sexes are like the hen at first, having no collar, but their eyes are black so that they can easily be distinguished from old ones. 

Varieties of this Parakeet are not at all uncommon; many birds are found splashed with yellow, and now and then a pure yellow one turns up; which, if a male, retains the red collar. Both sexes of the yellow variety have a red bill, but their feet are flesh-coloured, instead of grey like those of the green birds. Their eyes are often pink; if this is not the case, they are liable to moult out into the ordinary green plumage. A pale yellow-green variety is also found, but seems to be very rare. 

Female eating grain in fields

This species is found nearly all over India and Sri Lanka, east to Pegu but it usually avoids the hills. It is much the commonest of Indian Parrots, and is far too familiar as a garden-bird, doing a great deal of damage to fruit. It even comes into towns. 

It breeds from January to May, using holes in buildings as well as those in trees."

Male and female in courtship eating

Below is a beautiful and inspirational video of Sekhar, a camera mechanic from Chennai who doesn't have pets of his own, but loves thousands of birds, just the same. Sekhar, popularly know as the 'Birdman' in the Royapettah area, feeds thousands of parrots everyday and has been doing so for a decade. 

Sekhar started out with putting rice and grains with water on his parapet wall for sparrows and squirrels. One day, around the time the Tsunami devastated the subcontinent, two parrots came to Sekhar's house in search for food. 

Ten years later, around three thousand parrots now knock at his door for food and it is open for them, everyday without fail. Sekhar says that he might miss his meal, but his parrots never have to return with an empty stomach. 

"It's all love," Sekhar says in the video. Spreading love and kindness keeps him happy and that's his message to everyone. 

Watch Sekhar's inspiring story below. 

Towards the end of the above video Sekhar is feeding a large Parakeet which is known as the Rock Parrot or Alexandrine Parakeet (Paloeornis Nepalensis). 

“This is a larger bird than the ordinary Ring-neck, and has, in both sexes and at all ages, a large dark red patch on the wing, which distinguishes it at once. It varies a good deal according to where it inhabits, but the different varieties can hardly be ranked as species, though this is commonly done. Classing all these large Ring-necked Parakeets together, the Alexandrine may be said to be found almost all over India, Sri Lanka and Burma and also extends to the Andamans, where it is very large and bright coloured.” 
[Frank Finn – abridged]

Contact Information for Sekhar

On the You Tube page of this video in the comments section the following contact information of Sekhar (of the above video) is listed. 

Sekhar Camera House, 
No. 242, Second Floor, Pycroft’s Road 
Royapettah, Chennai 

Contact Mobile Sekhar’s son: +919444464967

Two Photographs Showing the Parakeet in Flight

Male Parakeet in flight

Male Parakeet stretching its wings whilst in flight

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