Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Happiness of the bird

Crested bulbul eggs in our mango tree
Regular correspondents will know the story of our mango tree.
Planted by us here at our Hong Kong place in 2002, it thrived, was very happy, grew to 30 feet and provided us with an embarrassment of mangoes every August.
We asked Noel to come over to use our chain saw, help Arlene to cut one branch that was hanging rather too heavy over the kitchen. (Old men should not use chain saws) I showed them the branch and went back to my office. Coming back an hour later, found to my horror that they'd cut the whole tree down to its stump.
Huuuuge misunderstanding. Jing cried. Arlene offered her resignation.
I said life would regenerate. And it has. The tip of the stump is now flourishing. So much so that I'm going to have to work out where to trim a bit of the growth to get some proper branches a chance to strike out for the sky.
Arlene was pottering around in the new growth yesterday and found that a bulbul had made a nest hidden right inside, and managed to take this photo of the four eggs in there.
How lovely!
We noticed, Arlene and I, that Mama bulbul was keeping a wary eye on us. What were we up to, we interlopers? So we signal and whistle to her that we mean no ill will. We whistle to our birds every day, Arlene rather more capably than me. So they know us.
I sent the picture to Jing who asked us please to be careful.
I said don't worry Mama bird knows us and knows we don't mean any harm. Mama bird is happy, I said.
She didn't ask, but could have, how do you know Mama bird is happy?
And that's why I dug out my Classics text book in the post immediately below. It's the story of Zhuang Zi and his mate Hui Zi walking over a bridge and Zhuang noting that the fish is happy. Hui says you're not a fish, how do you know it's happy? Zhuang says you're not me how do you know I don't know the fish is happy? There's a bit more of this ancient deconstructionism, but point made…
Sad postscript: a few days later the eggs were gone. Not born. Gone. We suspect either cats or snakes. both of which eat bird eggs.