Pipal or Bodhi Trees (Ficus religiosa) are plentiful in Pune, India, some as old as 400 years. This is a typical strangling fig. The tree is sacred to both the Hindus and the Buddhists LINK. The former associates the roots of the tree with Lord Brahma, creator of the universe; the trunk with Lord Vishnu, protector and preserver; and the leaves with Lord Shiva, the destroyer. The Buddhists believe that Buddha attained enlightenment under its shade.
Around this time of the year these trees were in fruits (actually syconia), attracting birds from far and wide. As with most fruiting fig trees, the cries of birds scrambling for the figs can be heard well before the tree is seen.
Lakshmi Ravishankar’s video clip shows a White-cheeked Barbet (Megalaima viridis) moving around the branches of the tree picking the ripest figs.
Other birds, like the Coppersmith Barbets (Megalaima haemacephala) were also raiding the tree, gorging on the figs!
“Shooting a White-cheeked Barbet from such close quarters is a dream come true for me!” declared Lakshmi.
5th May 2016
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