The Peacock Parade

Pia-ow…. may-awe…!” I hear these haunting shrill high pitched sounds every morning just outside my home. The raucous call of the peacock is nowhere as bewitching as its gorgeous looks. The most photogenic bird is the peacock. Declared as the national bird of India in 1963, the peacock (Pavo cristatus) is celebrated in mythology, religion, culture and art.

I rarely miss an opportunity to watch the peacock live show staged every morning in the open fields just outside my home. These days, armed with a special zoom lens for bird photography, I trudge to watch the peacock parade. My neighbours tell me that the show begins at 7.30 am, so I get there well ahead of time to secure a vantage position. With bated breath, I can’t wait for what certainly is the greatest show on earth….

“Pia-ow…may-awe…” slice the early morning calm as an adult peacock glides effortlessly to take up its position on the centre stage. A handsome majestic bird, his ornamental train feathers with their numerous “eyes” which look as if they’ve been tasseled, are simply stunning. Soon the iridescent blue-green bird is surrounded by a harem of five-six brownish peahens. Clearly, the male is more attractive only in birds and animals.

The flamboyant peacock ruffles his feathers and fans them outwards. A million “eyes” shimmer in the golden sunlight. Having centered himself, the peacock launches his breathtaking display as he pirouettes on his sturdy legs, his metallic feathers rustling in the breeze… His harem of prospective peahens, meanwhile, is not the least impressed… Refusing to be ignored or turned down, the peacock launches into another passionate display… I watch in amazement and click continuously… the muster of peahens, meanwhile continue to search for grubs and grains in the soil… Clearly even the spectacular is not good enough for them!