Indian grey hornbills, the birds that nest in cervices of trees have shown a remarkable change in their nesting behavior in the city. This year the birds have built their nests a much earlier.

According to a bird expert Ajay Gadikar, who has been studying on hornbills for last many years, it is the first time in last few years that the birds have started nesting so early. The birds usually make nests with the beginning of summers.

"I have observed six nests of hornbills. Of them, five were occupied in second week of March. The reason behind this change in their nesting behaviour is still not clear, it might have occurred due to change in environmental condition," Gadikar said.

According to experts, the trend needs to be studied carefully as it might have wider implications.

"Similar trends have been observed in some other parts of the country as well, while this might be due to changing weather conditions and availability of food, it would be too early to come to a conclusion. The behaviour needs to be studied over long term to come to a conclusion," said Aprajita Dutta, a wildlife biologist.

Hornbills feed mainly on fruits and 70 per cent of their diet consists of fig. The regeneration of fig trees mainly depends on hornbills. This is not the first time that the hornbills have shown peculiar behaviour. During his study in year 2013 Gadika had observed changes in food habits of the bird. Hornbills, which usually eat only insects, were found to eat rotis (Indian bread) and biscuits in their daily diet.

The hornbills were also spotted nesting in crevices of concrete buildings. The nest was made inside a cavity left in a wall, beside a window around three inches in diameter and 20 feet above the ground, it was properly sealed by the female hornbill leaving only a small slit.

Source: March 16, 2017, The Times of India