Saturday, August 1, 2009

That Time Of Year Again

Well, it’s that time of year again. The weeping fig out the back of my place is in fruit and the birds are going berserk. Weeping figs (Ficus benjamina) can be seen all over Singapore, often growing out of the sides of old buildings, and this particular one stands on a small patch of scrap ground between the downstairs restaurant and the next door school. Chinese are sensitive to the almost mystical beauty of these trees and often place small animist shrines at the base of them. This one has a small but substantial shrine next to it full of fierce-looking Chinese deities. There’s a Buddha statue in there also. Sometimes I feel like sneaking down there, rescuing him and putting him in more salubrious surroundings. Anyway, it’s in full fruit and its small, round, purple-colored figs are raining down in their thousands on my upstairs porch. That is, when the birds aren’t gobbling them up. The buildup to the daily racket begins about an hour before sunrise when the fluty call of the resident Drongo announces that this is his tree. By sunrise the mynas have arrived, about 30 of them, and begin gorging themselves and quarrelling with each other. Then the Spotted Doves, Bulbuls, Glossy Starlings, the beautiful gold and black Orioles and a few others I can’t identify, come for the feast. They chirp and chatter, whistle and warble, squeak and squawk all the livelong day. I’ve often wondered what all the fuss is about so yesterday I ate two of the figs to see what they are like. Nothing special. Not sweet at all and rather dry.
Anyway, my feathered friends love them and I get to enjoy them announcing their delight all day.


David said...

Thanks for sharing this. I was unfamiliar with type of fig. I love the description of the birds' "symphony."

walkingtowardrefuge said...

A visit to your blog is always intriguing. Thanks for sharing!