The villagers of Kichan, Rajasthan and in particular Sewa Ram lay out an incredible feast daily for their Winter Guests. ( do check my previous blog).
The guest are no other than thousands of delicate and dainty Demoiselle Cranes or Khurja.
An enclosed area in the village is marked as the FEEDING HOME FOR BIRDS. Sewa Ram lays out multiple rows of Jowar ( Pearl Millet) daily for his guests.
The picture below was taken from Sewa Ram’s terrace and shows the Dining Area and the meticulously laid out Feast ( the fawn coloured Jowar seeds).
You can see the skies turn grey in the background as waves of Demoiselle Cranes approach the Feeding centre ( Dining Area ).
In an incredible and amazing show of disciple and Social Order , the Cranes assemble OUTSIDE this enclosure in thousands.
The cranes arrive in waves in thousands and settle in a vast area between the Dining Area and the hillocks behind.( see the picture below)
NOT ONE crane steps into the feeding area or flies into this area demarcated for their Feast every morning.
A couple of Inspectors or Leaders descend into the Dining Area after a careful aerial survey.
Only one of them checks the Jowar Seeds to ensure it meets Health standards whereas the rest scan the area for possible intruders/predators.
After an inspection the feast is declared Open and the first wave of Demoiselle Cranes flies into the Dining Area.
They divide themselves into two clear distinct groups, one group lines up and eats whereas the Spotters or Body guards keep a careful watch all around.
It takes one flock of cranes close to 15 minutes to have a good tuck in.
Extremely particular they prefer the fawn coloured Jowar over the greenish Bajra ( another millet).
They then leave in the same order they had arrived and are quickly replaced by another flock which was waiting outside the Dining Area.
Signalling the time to leave has come
It was indeed amazing to note the that the Cranes arrived punctually around 0900 hours and all left by 1130 daily.
Sewa Ram and his family have meticulously maintained records from 1983 when his father made the enclosure or Bird Feeding Centre to keep cattle and dogs away.
The only variation observed was on the days it was cloudy. As it had rained a day before I reached the Cranes chose to skip the Feast till the Sun emerged from the clouds at 1200 hrs.
It was amazing to note the direction they took to arrive at the Feeding Centre and when they left were perfectly synchronized.
I could spend days observing this MIRACLE OF NATURE unfold before my eyes.
I have one but regret that I did not spend more time observing their disciplined behavior.
Farewell my feathered friends.