Every evening around 6 o’clock I witness an aerial display that would put the ‘Red Arrows’ to shame. Man has tried for years to dominate the skies but thankfully will never match the speed, agility and stealth of the swallows. They are truly the masters of the air. I sit in awe every evening and marvel at how these tiny birds hurtle through my garden airspace at supersonic speed devouring even the tiniest of flying insects on their incredible trip. They don’t even stop to refuel.
The daytime and morning is dominated, in comparison, by ponderous doves plodding around on foot collecting morsels forced to the surface by the early morning dew. Cheeky Common Myna birds fight and squabble over anything and nothing as the secretive Coucal does some low-level sorties over enemy territory. Black-collared starlings keep themselves to themselves and my favourite Oriental Magpie-Robin friends are always teasing; nipping here and nipping there. As long as there is water about they know there will be a tasty morsel or two somewhere to be found. But they will never be masters of the air like the swallows.
There are no dogfights here. Every flyer knows his airspace and air traffic control has no place in the natural world. There’s no queuing for a landing slot as instinctively each pilot knows when he takes precedence and when others take their turn.
The natural world
It’s a continual feeding cycle and unless Man has interfered too much there is more than enough to go round. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here. I don’t see any birth control in this aerial natural world, only death control – survival of the fittest. I watch the endless cycle, year to year, of nest building. The pairs looking, looking for a suitable place to house their offspring; stealing strands from my grass roof as though I’d built it for their convenience. I see weavers stripping my palms to build their intricate hanging castles in the air, impervious to any tropical storm. Something we humans battle with all over the planet. Where did this intelligence come from? I’m sure I will never know. I am quite content to sit and marvel at the ‘air show’ every evening with a glass of ‘Chateau Mekong Delta’ for relaxation.