The Oriental White-eye And The Cats

About Oriental White-Eye:

These are tiny thumb-sized yellow coloured birds with pale grey undersides, wearing yellow bibs and have black eyes outlined with a white ring which look very conspicuous and give them a goggled look and their species name.

_DSC5575

Behaviour:

They seem to be very playful playing follow-the-leader and then hide and seek with the photographer. I say so because they remain in small groups of 4-7 and one of them gives a call and all of them fly off to some tree or bush easily hiding behind the leaves, never keeping still and hopping about on its branches. It is always a challenge to take their pictures.

They really enjoy having a bath in shallow water. They take turns in doing so while others keep watch for any sign of danger. When the coast is clear, one of them hops into the water head first, then it takes a dip followed by a splash then it shakes and finally hops off and the next one follows. This happens very quickly in only a few seconds.

Importance:

These birds are pollinators, seed dispensers and insect eaters and are very important in the ecosystem.

_d713485

Pollinating…

Threats:

dscn6712

Nest in a thorny bush…

In Yercaud, a hill station in South India, I noticed an empty nest in a big thorny rose bush. A lady came up and pointed to a white-eye. She further told me that all four of its chicks had been killed and eaten by two pet cats that the staff of a hotel nearby were keeping. The birds were wild and had chosen a very thorny and secure place as their nesting area. But the introduction of pet cats led to their decline.

dscn6852

The parent…

I am not against wild cats but the domesticated and feral cats can do a lot of damage to wild birds and I have noticed that these feral cats are everywhere in India. It reminds me of the story about pet cat(s) that were responsible for the extinction of an entire species of flightless bird in a years time in New Zealand. I don’t know how true that story is, but these cats multiply fast and I think they are very capable of inflicting that kind of damage. I suggest that people should not release domestic cats in the wild.

_dsc5582

A hard working bird…

14 comments

  • Wonderful photos!! Interesting bird. Too bad it’s in decline as are most birds. If someone wants a pet cat (i can’t think of a good reason for having one myself) they should certainly keep it in the house. These animals are a real predator on small birds and just kill because they enjoy it, not for eating purposes.

  • Cats also threaten our local burrowing owl which, as named, lives in burrows on the ground.

    • Thanks for visiting. Cats are threat to birds everywhere. Knowing that 33 bird species have gone extinct due to cats, I do hope all the cat lovers do their bit in helping protect birds. It is the least they need to do.

  • A pleasant read of these fascinating birds, so easy on the eyes. Yes, i too have long wished that feral cats were understood, and therefore removed. But their threat to wildlife is never understood by those we elect to office. Watching them attack and kill birds, hurts.

  • Lovely pictures and adorable bird! Which camera and lens do you use?

    • Thanks for visiting. This is indeed a cute bird.
      I have a Nikon D500+200-500 Nikkor combination. Occasionally, I use Nikon D810 with the same lens.

  • Yes, your story from NZ is true. The species was “discovered” by a cat who brought one to the lighthouse keeper on the island. The species, one of the NZ wrens, was very quickly wiped out. It was called Lyall’s Wren. I love your photos.

    • Thanks for visiting and for the confirmation of my story. Every bit of such information helps in creating awareness of the threats the birds face.
      Your pictures are wonderful. New Zealand is a beautiful country.

  • Pingback: Spotted Owlet | Aditya's Birding Blog

Leave a Reply