The Birds / 14.01.13

8 Jan. 2013

Leaving Madurai wasn’t so bad. The traffic was thick as locusts for three kms, and then thinned nicely into a wide two-lane split highway, smoothly paved. Just as we were hitting our stride on this surface, I noticed some large birds circling up ahead. In fact, there were so many of them I thought there must be a garbage dump or something. “Hey Kal, check out those birds — there must be a dump or something… they look like hawks.” Several times in India I’d noticed hawks and crows congregating around garbage dumps, but this was a spiraling cloud of them–at least two hundred.

As we approached however, I noticed that their wings looked a little funny. They weren’t hawk-shaped. In fact, they weren’t really even bird shaped. They had a funny little angular point right in the middle… “ARE THOSE BATS!!!” I blundered incredulously. Sure enough. There were a huge swarm of circling bats ahead, bigger than crows, the size of hawks. They were busy congregating in a tree. As we looked over the wall and got some footage, I noticed a sign that said SACRED GROVES.

Perhaps it was the bats’ presence that made it the “sacred groves.” I had certainly never seen so many enormous bats. As a missionary kid in west Africa, I remember our language helper showing us a fruit bat that someone had knocked to the ground with some stones. He stretched the wings of the dead animal, and it was at least three feet. Its head and mouth were large and the face was furry and pronounced, the nose and ears both grotesque and cute at the same time, but I remember the body being surprisingly small. I wondered if these were of the same family, and figured most of them were the older, bigger cousins with wing spans of four to five feet. We pedaled on after about 15 minutes, incredulous with wonder. “We have some of the coolest nature encounters,” Kal said. Yep.


(Watch some video Kal got below- no audio)

The Birds

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One Comment

  1. Netzy said on February 1, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Thanks for great story . Netzy

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