It was Coucal, not Goshawk, who killed nestlings of Spotted Dove.

There is a nest on tree visible from our rear balcony(we live on first floor). We (my family) are observing it for over a month now. Around second week of March 2021, spotted dove laid two eggs in this nest and was sitting their through day and night, through hot sunny afternoons and occasional untimely rain that occurred. It would just go away for few minutes couple of times a day. When she laid eggs, some of the leaves of the tree were still intact.

Spotted dove sitting on eggs to them warm

Sometime around end of March, I observed Banded Goshawk(Shikra) with its kill, on adjacent tree. It was mostly a lizard (I am not sure). But I had read about Shikra being a bird of prey and also feeds on cheeks of many birds. This is where I felt a little worry for the little ones of dove who were about to arrive.

Shikra with its kill

And one fine day, the eggs hatched and I could observe two chicks. Mother going away from nest for some time was still happening. Also, I would observe Shikra around. So I started to think a lot. Is there any way to keep these two nestlings safe, at least till they learn to fly?

I even thought who am I to interfere with nature? So, if Shikra attacks the chicks, should I intervene to save them or should I just be observer and let nature be in charge? Hypocritical ethical dilemma. I decided to not think much and follow my instincts whenever situation occurs.

Spotted Dove and its chick

Around 8-9th of April, I observed Greater Coucal on another nearby tree. I have observed Coucal foraging on ground and eating food leftover too. I had skipped many lines while reading about this bird on Wikipedia. So I was under the impression that the only threats to little nestlings are shikra and gravity.

Greater Coucal

Finally, on 16th April, my wife called me to tell that some bird is killing the chicks. I rushed to rear balcony. I could just observe Coucal lifting the nestlings with its beak and flying away. As wifey had observed the event a bit longer, she said, it killed the nestlings in the nest itself by poking with beak again and again. Greater Coucal feeds on nestlings of other birds. I read it from various sources, having already witnessed it.

Empty nest after nestlings were killed and taken away

Not being the expert of bird behavior or emotions if any, I am not sure how exactly it impacts. But I have observed the spotted dove visiting the nest multiple times and flying away, as if she is visiting to check.

Red Wattled Lapwing

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 45

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

The first photo is taken from rear gallery of my house when this bird was feeding on ground (Saint Anne’s Public School Playground). This is one rare occasion I think. I mostly observed this bird in pond. The second photo is from a pond near Anandwan, some 3-4 km from house.

Red Wattled Lapwing

More birds to follow.

(Update: Observed these birds again at Mama Talav (Pond) near Bhatala. Some 20 km drive from my home. Find couple of clicks below)

Eurasian Hoopoe

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 43

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

Observed this particular bird only once on 6th April 2021. It was foraging on ground. Thanks to Ruhaan (my 2 year old) for bringing my attention to the bird by saying ‘baba, chiu’ repeatedly :-).

Male and Female of these species look similar.

Eurasian Hoopoe

Follow for more birds.


Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 40

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

Shikra is also called as little banded goshawk.

Observed a juvenile for the first time on 12th March 2021 from terrace. Same evening observed an adult but couldn’t click a clear picture. Shikra is bird of prey. Had heard of Shikra as one who takes away young chicks of hen. Hopeful of clicking good pictures of adult soon. (Updating: Just a day later, spotted Adult male. Uploading pictures now.)

Shikra (Juvenile-Female)
Shikra (Adult Male)

More birds to follow.

Yellow-footed green pigeon

Post is part of the project- Birds in the neighborhood. | Bird 39

These clicks are taken from various locations from 10 feet to 100 feet from my home in Warora (Dist: Chandrapur).

It is state bird of Maharashtra and it is called hola or hariyal(हरियाल) in marathi. Really mesmerizing beauty. Observed in for first time on 5th March 2021. Clicked these photos from my terrace.

Yellow-footed green pigeon

More birds to follow.

How do I Identify the birds? and Other FAQ’s.

In January 2021, when I suddenly started to post pictures of birds clicked around my house, I started to get many questions from friends and readers like Are you ornithologist? How do you identify birds? Are all these birds really around your house? etc. I think its time to answer some of FAQ’s.

How do you identify birds?

I click pictures of birds with Canon EOS 1500D mounted with 55-250 mm lens in Manual Mode. I try to click multiple photos so that detailed verification of species of bird is possible.

Then I do image search with clicked photo on Merlin App or Google Lens.

1) Merlin Bird ID by Cornel Lab (Playstore link Is AI based app (and a whole revolution) around birds. Dr Abhijeet Gadewar recommended this app and I am thankful for that. The identification suported by image search also takes into account geographic location, time etc. Provides extra information and even sounds to aid correct identification of birds.

2) Google Lens ( is a really powerful app for image search and many other things like QR code scanning, realtime translation etc. It’s really powerful app. But Merlin is bird specialist.

The result of image search returns one or sometimes three or more matches. Then taking help of more clicks and carefully reading from other online resources I zero in on correct species. (Note: Confusion still persists regarding some birds and more carefull observations might be needed.)

Are you ornithologist?

I would say I am not. I am just hobbist empowerd by modern technology. I have new hobby after every couple of months and I happily follow my impulses.

Are all these birds really around your house?

Yes. All the birds are clicked within 400-500 feet radius from my house in Warora, District: Chandrapur (India).

Some key remarks I would like to make from ‘Birds in the neighborhood’ project:

1) Birdwatching can be a really great project for students. It enhances our ability to closely observe, have patience and pay attention to details. Importants of environment gets underlined. There are many more benefits for students if done right and in fun way.

2) In old days, with camera to take clear pictures and without portable computers, can you imagin challenges of birdwatchers? For just birdwatching in india, I would need 2000-3000 pages guide with me. To sort through it to match features observed quickely would be such a huge task. Lot of dependability would have to be on memory. With computers, sorting became easy. Now we have image search based on AI. In short not the things that would be possible only for experts in past are possible for amatures to with help of technology.

As cofounder of a technology company, I understand the contribution we make, goes a long way.

I hope, this article answered some of your questions. Let me know your views.

Sunbird feeding its young…

Today, while birding around my house, I spotted this purple sunbird chick. She (or he? I will refer by she hereafter) was waiting for her mother to come and feed her. I found her behavior cute and kept observing for some time. Tried to click some pictures too. Writing this bit to note all that down.

The wait for food is difficult. The chick was impatiently moving around while waiting.

At the sight of mother or father, she would start flapping its wings and start chirping. (A lot like human child?)

Mother feeding the chick by putting the bill in mouth of the chick. Is it nectar or insects? I couldn’t make it.

Chick adjusts its mouth for efficiently consuming what mother brought for her.

After feeding, mom is off again for another round.

Chick and dad in intense discussion.

Now it’s dads turn to feed. And it continued again and again. More pics in slideshow below.

Thanks for reading.