My Friendship with a Doyel, the beginning

The friendly Doyel

My charming guest

It was one of those days. The sun comfortably warm, the earth fragrantly wet from a drizzle earlier during the day—I had nothing to do but bask in the sunshine.

Between mellow day-dreaming and subtle time lapses I heard the sweetest whistle. I looked through the window before getting up and saw him. Outside the window, on the cloth-liner he perched, singing merrily. I smiled at him. His song felt like it was made only for my ears.

He was a Magpie Robin commonly known as Doyel which is the National Bird of Bangladesh found widely on this side of the border too. He didn't fly away when he saw me—he sang on—and I stood there elated and mesmerized.

My friend Doyel (Photo courtesy –

My friend Doyel (Photo courtesy –

Next day I saw him again coming through the grill and sitting on the same cloth-liner. I stood there, but he was not bothered at all by my presence. He became my charming guest.

After a few days I realized that he made this service balcony his home. He would often sit and chirp away. We got used to each other’s presence.

One fine day my friend arrived with a mate. A home was about to be made with lots of love and cute babies. I realized that they had made their nest on a bowl placed high above in an open cupboard in my balcony. I told my maid, “Please don’t disturb them and keep a close watch so that nothing goes wrong with grooming of their chicks.”

They were not scared of her also—as if they knew she was there to protect and not to hurt. I wonder—can you tell a friend from an enemy by simply your instincts? Or is this the glory of trust that nature imprints in us—which we use and misuse in times of our misery!

While my maid would remain busy with her daily household chores at the service balcony washing clothes or mopping the balcony, he used to sit on the water pipe-line which comes from pump room to our building and sing to his partner—maybe to spring and all the gods in the heavens—who knows! It is beauty to my ears—this is the true melody of sheer joy.

His mate would always be with the tiny hatchlings and there would be me at a distance—watching them nurture and celebrate life—just a trace of sadness seeping in me thinking of my petty human existence.

My friend Doyel singing to his mate

My Doyel singing to his mate

Another day my maid informed me that there were three chicks and they were quite grown up. She actually went up through ladder and watched them. I was very excited and wanted to see them. She said “Okay, I will get that bowl down for you.” She got it down and I saw them sleeping peacefully. I felt so happy.

Babies sleeping peacefully

Babies sleeping peacefully

After a few days she informed me that the chicks wanted to fly. One of them actually flew away, but the other two fell on the balcony—fortunately unhurt. My maid took them to her home nearby in the same compound and kept them in a cage. Soon she showed them to their parents and they came and fed them. In a few days those two chicks also grew up and flew away.

After one and a half months, my charming guest started coming again with his mate. They made their nest in the same bowl and they had three chicks once again. They started grooming them.

One day, my maid called me in the service balcony and showed me the chicks. This time though all of them wanted to fly at the same time. But all the three fell—fortunately unhurt again. My maid took them up and kept them on the news paper stack behind the washing machine. I saw their mother sitting on the pipe-line looking for them frantically and calling them in a sing-song tune. I told my maid “Please show them to their mother, quickly.” As soon as she did that the mother flew in to meet her chicks oblivious of our presence altogether. Thereafter the pair came frequently to feed their chicks. Soon those chicks also flew away.

This year a few days back I saw him again with his mate. I knew that the bowl in my balcony has become their permanent home. They made their nest in the bowl. They are now coming in frequently. If I am in the balcony, both of them perched on the pipe-line and sang or may be talked to me! Who knows! Normally a Magpie Robin or Doyel doesn’t make its nest in any house especially where people are living. They either make their nest in bushes or abandoned farm houses.

My charming guest made an exception though for my house. I felt happy that these untamed Magpie Robins found my balcony or may be our house so peaceful that they thought of making the place their permanent home. Every year he comes back with his mate to make their babies.

Mother bringing food for her babies

Mother bringing food for her babies

Now they are quite active. Early in the morning, I wake up every day listening to their sing-song. Sometimes I find the mother sitting on her eggs and the father sitting on the pipe-line talking to her.

I told my maid once again to keep a watch on the chicks so that they must not fall on the floor while trying to fly. It would be after some time, not now—they are yet to be born. I am excited as usual. I am eagerly waiting for the chicks to grow up and fly away safely—once again.