Birds and a packet of cooked rice

posted in: Feeding strategy, Feeding-plants | 1

“Mynas, crows and sparrows are species that have adapted well to human urbanization. They have learned to associate human with food and have adapted well to consume human leftover food.

“Early in the morning of 29 May 2010, somebody had left a packet of leftover food by the side of a bitumen road; probably to feed wild dogs that were around the area. However, instead of dogs, a flock of birds including a couple of Spotted Doves (Streptopelia chinensis), a House Crow (Corvus splendens) and some Javan Mynas (Acridotheres javanicus) had gathered (above left). They were seen from afar attacking a red polyethylene bag that I later discovered to contain cooked rice. Approaching nearer the scene, the Spotted Doves and House Crow flew away. Some Eurasian Tree Sparrows (Passer montanus) (above right) and a handful of Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus), which could not be seen from far due to their smaller size, could now be observed.

“Baya Weavers, which are found in grasslands mostly around rural areas, are not normally associated with human leftover food. They consume mainly grass seeds (raw and natural). Going for cooked (processed) rice was a surprise. I was further surprised when a Baya Weaver was noticed picking up some grains of cooked rice, hopped 3 or 4 feet to feed its fledgling that was waiting (above). The father joined them on the road and watched while the mother fed its young. The open, unobstructed views of Baya Weavers on a bitumen road was a refreshing change from their normal habitat of long grass, which was difficult for photography due to obstruction from the swaying grass blades. The male was earlier seen in a patch of dense grass that was by the side of the road.

“Later, three juvenile Eurasian Tree Sparrows arrived to forage. They were seen consuming the leftover cooked rice. There was also a pair of Black-headed Munias (Lonchura malacca) seen in the overgrown grass patch but they were rather timid and flew off immediately upon being discovered.”

Kwong Wai Chong
8th July 2010

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