Birds of a Feather – hornbills on the HBM campus

The HBM hospital is not only a place for the healing of the body and soul – it is also a place to see the great beauty of creation.  And amidst the stately trees that adorn the compound we are blessed with various species of birds.

Will you come along with with us for a quick visit to our own biodiversity park in the middle of Lalitpur town?

We would like to introduce you to probably the largest bird to live on the HBM hospital campus: the Indian Grey Hornbill.   We see these handsome birds fly in pairs or singly around the campus in the early morning or just before dusk.

grey hornbill 1

The Indian Grey Hornbills need to be form pairs, because once the breeding season starts, the couple finds a hollow in a tree for their nest.  If the hollow is small, they enlarge it and then the female enters in and is ‘enclosed’ using mud pellets and faeces.  The birds leave only a small vertical gap open.  The female then sheds her feathers and lays the eggs and hatches them in the nest.

The male Indian Grey Hornbill’s task is to keep bringing food.  This he does faithfully, passing the food for his mate and the small ones through the small hole that was left in the nest.  Eventually, when the chicks have grown large enough to take to the out-doors, the nest is broken by the parents and they fly free.

The female has in the mean-time grown her feathers back and is able to fly again and find her own food.  All this while she was helpless inside the nest and dependent on the male’s hard work and careful hiding of her nest from other predators.

What an amazing picture of faithfulness and cooperation as parents.  And a real lesson for us as well.  The Bible says in one place: “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you” (Job 12.7).  The Indian Grey Hornbill have much to teach human parents about loving faithfulness to each other and mutual help and cooperation. 

So here is another picture of our dear teachers the Indian Grey Hornbill, taken on the HBM hospital campus.

grey hornbill 2

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