One of my favourite pastimes is to lazily sit on my verandah and watch the mynahs busy at what I should be doing .... getting rid of the pests in my garden. And very conscientious they are too. When I wake up early in the morning and come out, they're already at work. Pacing up and down the lawn or any grassy patch, they suddenly cock their head and I know that's the death warrant for one more bug.
Here's one checking over the cricket pitch which went out of control during the monsoon. (Just in case you're wondering, the cricket referred to here is not the insect but the sport which has cult status here in India)
The Common Mynah, also known as Indian Mynah, mates for life and I usually see the happy couple hunting together. Pa takes over one part of the lawn while Ma scrutinises the other, and sometimes the youngsters join in too if they're not partying elsewhere. The family that eats together, stays together?
They seem to enjoy caterpillars and bugs but apparently their favourite food is grasshoppers. Which gave them their name - Acridotheres tristis. Acridotheres meaning "grasshopper hunter", according to Wiki. Now that's more than enough to endear them to me!
The bright yellow skin patch around their eyes always makes me laugh. They look as if their off to a masked ball any minute now and chose that bright colour to make up for their rather drab brown apparel. Oh yes, and they got boots to match too!
My father was once gifted a pet Jungle Mynah and it was one of the best mimics I've ever heard. They're considered one of the best 'talking' birds and they're really amazing! Now these shy black birds are a protected species and so they're not seen much except in the jungles which are their natural habitat. I can just imagine them driving the other birds in the jungle nuts, though :D
One of the advantages of having a garden where the use of chemicals is severely restricted is that Nature takes over. For every pest there are predators around the corner or under the next leaf. This has such a wonderful sense of rightness that I almost don't mind the odd cut petals if it'll attract a Fantail or a Bulbul. Almost.
And, yes, most of them even sing for their supper too. Others, however, will just stare as if considering this strange creature that's got nothing better to do while everyone worth knowing is slogging away, catching their daily bugs .
(The resident Oriental Garden Lizard)
Garden lizards, skinks, mynahs, .... I have so many natural garden assistants that I dont really need any other, do I?
Okay, maybe someone to do the digging would be nice, though.