Akhilesh Pandey is a keen observer of life in and around the area where he lives. We have never met since he lives in Dwarka and I live in Kishangarh located between Mehrauli and Vasant Kunj.I know him only through his voice on the phone since he has called me a couple of times, to either comment on one of my pieces in Cityscape or to share his concerns about the damage being caused to the fauna and flora of this city.
The other day he called me to share a story that he has been following and writing about in City Plus for the last four years. This is a story of remarkable resilience by a bird that has become such a rarity in Delhi that ornithologists were on the verge of concluding that it was no longer found in Delhi. The fact that this bird has chosen a nesting site and scores of pairs have been building a colony, year after year on the same plot of land on the same shrubs and trees is a sign not only of the tremendous adaptability of the bird but it is also a sign of hope for other small birds, like the Sparrow, that have begun to stage a tentative come back in this concrete jungle that we know as Delhi.
The bird that Akhilesh Pandey has been chasing is the Baya –The weaver Bird. The scientific name of the Baya is Ploceusphilippinus. Not being familiar with the logic that determines the naming of fauna and flora, I cannot say with any measure of certainty if the Philippinus part refers to Philippines where the bird could have been observed or to an ornithologist called Philip who first described the Baya.