The resonant call, as if arising from within an earthen pot, is the sound of this chestnut bird.
Resonant! Raucous is more like it!
I am a tree – hugger, a nature lover but I have not hated anything as much as the member of this species of birds (see photo above). The bird in question is the Bharadwaj, the Crow Pheasant / Greater Coucal, will be referred here onwards in the post as THE BIRD. So, THE BIRD, lives in the dense and green foliage of teak and mango trees outside our bedroom window.
Every morning , nay, early dawn , at around 4am, THE BIRD, sits amidst the leaves and dutifully emits the distinctive staccato that shatters my eardrums, knocks me out of any dream that I might be having. It is a throaty croak, and it startles me everytime I hear it.
As a kid I liked this bird. It used to sit in the branches of a fig tree in our backyard. At that time, I used to love its call, it was long and powerful; a complete contrast to the screeching of parrots, chirping of sparrows and the raucous crow. In the afternoons, when everyone would be taking their seista, I would be in the garden trying to find this bird. Since, it has a slow gait and it camouflages easily, I could hear only its footfalls as it walked over dried leaves. Hence, sighting a Bharadwaj,as it is called in Marathi, was special.
They say that sighting crow pheasants / bharadwaj is a good omen. It has been bestowed with divine healing powers that can sure all ailments. It is believed that, if a young crow-pheasant is tied by an iron chain to a tree, the mother, as soon as she discovers the captive, will go and fetch a certain root, and by its aid break the chain, which, when it snaps, is converted into gold. (from the book, Omens and Superstitions of South India). How blessed this bird is, it is the panacea for all ills and, it also know alchemy (being able to turn iron to gold).
I guess, the daily interaction with this BIRD might be a good omen for me. It certainly has helped me get up on time for my morning jogs. I wake up long before the alarm rings! However, it would be better if I can see the bird rather than hear it at unearthly hours!
Other titles considered for this post:
The Early Bird
Flip ’em the Bird