Bee-eaters can be found all over India. From metropolitan cities to ghosted forests about 5000 feet up in the Himalayas. They are identified by their curvy beaks and long tail-feathers. Some are born with blue beards and others blessed with roasted chestnut-colored skullcaps.
On bright summer days, the undersides of their wings hold sunlight. Like jet-propelled turquoise demitasses, they fly around in search of bees, beetles, and wasps. They spear them, remove their venomous stings and thrash the lifeless bodies into small portions.
It is as gruesome as it sounds. But nobody laments for the early worm. Cruelty maketh its fragile ecosystem. So, does ours. And we can complain about it on Twitter.
During chilly days, Bee-Eaters can be seen lounging in groups. They tuck their bills, huddling like orphans in a storm, to keep cozy. Munias, Weaverbirds, and Swallows display such behavior. What is special about bee-eaters is that some studies indicate that they observe and understand human behaviour.
Groups of them can huddle and feel warm without having to be willing participants in orgies. Or attend funerals for loved ones. There is a chance that bee-eaters are aware of our mistakes.
The ghost in you
exfoliates the unwashed host in me,
with tobacco teeth and
filled to the brink of defeat,
brimming with the greenest of tea
(Photographs: Western Ghats, Chennai, Pulicat & Kanchipuram)