July 09, 2013



Funambulus palmarum
I am winding up my first birding experience in NGV with a few snaps of one rodent that you can find everywhere in Bengaluru - the Indian Palm Squirrel. Unlike their distant cousins - rats and mice, these creatures have always been loved by humans, though they are capable of similar kind of destruction. Here in the IT city, the green cover (which is diminishing at an alarming rate) and the ample food supply has led to their proliferation in most parts and Koramangala is no exception. Just walk out to your gallery, terrace or garden and there is a very high possibility that you will find them just running around, chasing one another or making those squeaking sounds. Excellent climbers that they are, I remember this one squirrel who would regularly come to the window of my bedroom on the second floor in Porvorim. With our apartments being surrounded by trees on all sides, we would regularly see them. On one occasion in June 2007, I remember seeing about 15 of these running from our compound to a neighbouring compound across the road. 

These little mammals remind me of this one poem which I had been taught back in school. In fact, it is one of the few poems that I can still recollect. You see I have always loved prose more than poetry. Titled 'The Squirrel', it was a part of my English textbook in the second standard (Maharashtra State Board Syllabus). Our class teacher - Miss Jessie would sing it, one line at a time and the rest of the class would repeat it. In a week, most of the class had memorized the poem. With the syllabus changing so often, nowadays, I sometimes wonder whether it is still being taught in our schools. I hope, it is. The other day, while I was searching for it on the internet, I was surprised to know that the poem is quite popular around the world. Though the lines are childish, I feel that it captures the very qualities that makes the squirrel such a delightful animal - agility, its small size and most importantly - infinite energy.

Whisky, frisky, 
Up he goes 
To the tree-top! 

Whirly, twirly, 
Round and round ,
Down he scampers 
To the ground. 

Furly, curly 
What a tail! 
Tall as a feather 
Broad as a sail. 

Where's his supper? 
In the shell, 
Snappity, crackity, 
Out it fell.

Chip and Dale - The Rescue Rangers

For more on Birding at the National Games Village, Koramangala:
(1) The First Birding Experience at NGV (Link)
(2) The Pleasant Pandemonium (Link)