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Our feathery friend Bulbul

It all began a month back when the flower pot hanging from the wall of our balcony was frequented by a pair of lovely bulbuls, often known as Indian Nightingale in English. The birds were in a word, elegant. With their rich brownish-black plume, ruby red posterior, gorgeous crest and melodious tune, they won our hearts at once.

The whole family was caught by surprise when the pair actually built a nest on the terra-cotta pot holding a leafy croton. In a matter of two days, the top of the pot was being covered by a nest skillfully completed from dry twigs, vines, grasses, leaves, straws and even scraps of a polythene bag! If you ever watch a bird's nest closely, you will be startled by the level of dexterity with which they build their homes. To a bird, a nest is a structure developed to lay eggs and to shelter its young. Thus, their home signaled the arrival of eggs within the nest. We all began to wait in anticipation and one fine day, we discovered three small eggs lying casually at the depth of the nest. The bulbuls chose the thick telephone cable running across the other side of our alley as their sitting place. As astonishing as it might appear, unlike couples of many other species, this pair of bulbuls seemed to have a very deep attachment between them; they flew, ate, chirped and hopped about together.

We never saw them leaving each other alone, not even for a moment; they were always about their new home, together. When none of us used to be around, the mother bulbul flew into its home to incubate the eggs, but the very sound of unlocking the balcony door or a loud voice from inside the house used to leave the bulbul frightened, and in a blink of an eye she used to flutter back to the telephone wire.

Bulbuls must have a very good sense of time. With the sun setting in the west, the mother used to hurriedly fly into her home, hatching the eggs with all her maternal affection. The whole incident rather dramatically changed my life. Keeping an eye on the birds turned out to be my most important task of the day. I began to draw the curtains open so as to view the birds flapping their lush wings in the air, hopping on the telephone cable, or nurturing the eggs. My eyes began to search for the birds as I sat down to study. I sneaked a quick look at them before leaving for college, after returning home from outside, or when I had nothing to do.

Days passed by and then one day, all our anticipation came to an end when the eggs finally cracked open and the young broke out of their hard shells. The babies were so fragile, their pink skin, so soft and smooth. Their vulnerability made me muse on my own infancy, when I was as fragile as these three nestlings. Besides watching them through the balcony door, an added responsibility on my part was to now feed them once in a while. My mother and I mashed bread, rice and fruits to nourish the little birds. As their tiny beaks touched my fingers, a feeling of glee and satisfaction filled me inside.

The birth of these little ones enlightened me about the hard work that every mother bears after their offspring are born. Two tiny birds faced the struggle that all species of creatures endure after their babies are brought to this world. I watched with wonder the hard time that the bulbuls underwent gathering food for the tiny ones. The parents caught dragonflies, crickets and butterflies, and numerous other unknown bugs and fruits to feed the young at every single hour of the day. While I prepare this piece of write up, my eyes and ears are entertained by the soft chirping of the three young, who have already grown delicate feathers, little wings and a tiny tail marked by a streak of white.

There is so much to see and so much to learn from the life of every living being on earth. These birds would soon leave their home and set wings on air. Our balcony will be left empty as before; the terra-cotta pot will still hang from the wall and the money-plant will still be there, as fresh and green as ever. But the pleasant reminiscences of the three beautiful young bulbuls and their parents will always stay closer to our hearts.

There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than in the way they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before -- Robert Lynd.

By Wara Karim

Special feature

Exploding batteries

Things had to get complicated just when you thought cell phone batteries were simply for plugging in. They have a habit of becoming nasty when misused.

Can cellular telephone batteries explode?
Over the past two years there have been about 80 reports of cell phones exploding or catching fire (in the US). This is usually because of incompatible, faulty or counterfeit batteries or chargers that cause the batteries to overheat. Burns to the face, neck, legs and hips are among the injury reports. In Bangladesh such incidents are unheard of but it never hurts to be pre-

Its important to follow a few simple rules:
· Purchase your cell phone parts from an authorized dealer, carrier or legitimate outlet.
· Do not expose a cell phone battery to water or extreme temperatures. Trips to monsoon countries or the Sahara Desert should be avoided.
· Avoid crushing your cell phone battery or dropping it against hard surfaces, especially when fully charged. So do not throw the phone at your friend or spouse when angry.
· If removing a battery, avoid putting it in contact with metal, such as keys or coins.

What is the optimum time for battery charging?
Too much of anything is bad so extensive charging may shorten the life of the battery. According to most manufacturers it is recommend not to leave batteries in charger for more than 24 hours.

What abut new batteries?
New batteries are supplied in a totally uncharged state. To ensure maximum performance, a new battery (or one that has not been used for several months) should be charged for at least 14 hours before use.

A new battery will require several full charge/discharge cycles in order to achieve its optimum performance. A full discharge is when you completely use up the battery.

A new battery, or battery that has not been used for several months, may cause a premature fully charged indication. Ignore this indication and let the battery charge for several hours.

Is there any recommended battery maintenance?
· Battery performance is greatly affected by network coverage and features selected. You will find that usage in particular areas will drain your battery faster.
· When not in use, store your battery uncharged in a cool, dark and dry place. A refrigerator does not apply.
· Never leave your battery in extremely high temperatures (over 140° F), for example behind glass in very hot, direct sunlight. That means the car dashboard in summer.
· It is normal for batteries to become warm during charging. Becoming HOT is not normal so call the fire department.

By Ehsanur Raza Ronny



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