To believe is to see: Southern Indian Roller

One summer night, they held hostage
a darkly sky and the square root of Pi;
their only ransom – a family blue jays
basking in sunlight, like
caramelized lemon pies.

I haven’t had a conversation with Tio Stib outside of the comment sections in this blog. But I feel like I know him well enough to write about him. Tio, a writer and traveler, lost his eyesight late in his life but he soon found himself through a reignited passion for living.

From his blog – Travel with Tio:


“Since losing my sight late in life, I’ve thrown my creative urges into writing about my myriad misadventures, hoping that lessons learned may inspire others, or at least give them a good chuckle. My wife and I spend our time between Benicia, California, and Zacatecas, Mexico, although we’ve been known to visit strange places on the promise of exotic adventures, good food and fine wine”

He is one of the visitors of this little space of mine. He shows up ever so often with his kind, appreciative and insightful comments.

Tio recently told me how he wished he could see the beautiful birds that I am lucky enough to spot. And it got me thinking whether I could do anything to help. I figured the least I can is to include detailed descriptions in a weekly post. I hope to describe their sizes, colours, plumage, etc in hope that he can have a clearer look at them.

Just to believe is to see the world for what it is too. Thank you, Tio.

To start it off, let me introduce you to the Southern Indian Roller, my friend. She is  also known as the Indian Blue Jay (Coracias benghalensis) and is a personal favourite of mine.

Indian Roller

She is a stocky bird, slightly bigger than a house crow. She often strikes a pose, bending forward, as though she just had a splendid meal. The colors she wears are not fractured pigments but delicate poems. She is a beau, from her shiny bronzing breasts and light yellow hues skipping around her irises to her purple lilac-bathed neck and pale blue skullcap.

One of the cutest things about her is the way she takes a bath. She dives into shallow water bodies, giving the impression that she might be fishing for food. But then she unhinges her wings, showcasing kaleidoscopic twirls of blue and brown, and sings like she has laryngitis yet a lust for performance.

Indian Roller, Mahabalipuram

Recently I spotted an Indian Roller gorging on a frog at the Pulicat Lake. Clearly the amphibian was much too large-sized for the Roller to make an easy meal of. She had to do some serious head-banging to get the fellow down down her throat.

It’s the second time I have seen one do this. Here’s the first – It’s a bird-eat-frog world.


17 thoughts on “To believe is to see: Southern Indian Roller

Add yours

  1. Dear Christy,

    I’m touched by your kindness and delighted by the images you paint for me and others. It is a special Oneness when souls share the beauty of Life.

    friend tio

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tio Stib always leaves generous and supportive comments on my blog for which I’m very grateful and I have enjoyed following the fascinating stories on his blog. Cheers to you Tio and to you Christy for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The birds require an embassy in every country around the world where workers are not fluent in ID’ing or spotting or knowing their migratory habits, but are POETS. It is the poet that best represents these spectacular species. Thanks for who you are, Christy. It is no accident that a blind man sees color here.

    PS – Can your photos be any better? That series…WOW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Embassy is a beautiful idea Shannon. Only you will…, I swear! Aww my photos are just these clicking sounds, no real science, but these rollers! Such an art to their existence.


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