The ‘Engaging’ Blue Whistling Thrush
Generally, one of the first things you will hear when you go to the Himalayas is the beautiful whistling sound of this bird. It is mainly blue in color with pale blue spots on its head, back, neck and belly and with prominent spots on the wings. The beak is yellow.
What I saw:
My best encounter with this bird was at Gangtok where it was building its nest in a crevice behind a waterfall.
I spent some time watching it go about the job: It will pick up dried moss, dip it in the water and take it to the nesting site which was well hidden behind the waterfall itself. I did not know that it likes to collect blue colored articles to decorate its nest but got a chance to see this behavior first-hand. It picked up a blue colored broken ring shaped seal of a mineral water bottle to impress its potential partner and carefully took it to its nest.
Blue ring of love
On another occasion, I have seen it hop into the icy water feet first, put its head into the water, splash water on its underbody using circular motions of its wings, come out of the water flapping its wings and preen itself. And this was well past sunset on that cold December day.
Fresh after a bath
As for the one I saw in Gangtok, I came back wondering if that blue ring helped it ‘seal the deal’.
Imagine an opera singer or any classical singer starting to sing but being disturbed midway by loud honking and roaring trucks zooming past. This bird too had had to stop several times and restart its singing. And then, the poor bird flew away.
This year global warming has taken over. Many waterfalls and streams have dried up already. I think this summer is going to be harsh for this water dependent bird.