For months on end workers had been widening the drains along the road in my housing estate – an exercise to ensure no puddling occurs after a heavy rain. A few weeks ago was the final phase after the widened drains were covered with concrete slabs that became a pleasant walkway. Between this walkway and the road proper is a strip of exposed earth where the roadside trees grow. Workers were covering the bare earth between trees with slabs of turf.
There were piles of these slabs placed at regular intervals along the road. As a worker was retrieving a few slabs from a pile, a Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) lurking nearby (above, arrowed) rushed in for a morsel of earthworm or any other invertebrate that became exposed on the pile. The bird would then stay by the side waiting for the nest batch of turf to be removed. The myna was not too concerned by the presence of the worker, although it tried to get out of the latter’s way. The worker in turn was generally unaware of the antics of the myna.
Javan Mynas are opportunistic birds. They are always around when there is a possibility of an easy meal. In the urban environment they will gather around grass cutters LINK, garbage collectors or even gardening enthusiasts weeding in their gardens LINK. After all, such activities disturb insects lurking among the vegetation or even expose other invertebrates, providing these birds an easy meal.