At Wildlife Direct in Nairobi, I sit at a place that overlooks a modern neighbourhood and I have a bird’s eye view of birds soaring/flying above the houses: swifts, pigeons and raptors dominate the show.
At Wildlife Direct offices, located on the srventh floor in Nairobi,I sit at a location where I overlook a modern housing system. I have a great bird’s eye view of things and can bear witness to the diverse birds that I see soaring/hunting over the quarters inhabited by humans. Swifts, Black Kitesand Pigeons dominate the show.
I live in a neighbourhood where nothing is short of modern living: beautiful houses with at least a car packed outside every house. On weekends when I am staying within the confines of my small compound, I only need to sit at the doorstep and I will see a Black Kite perched on an electricity pole, eating the remains of a piece of fried chicken that was left by a well-fed child, disposed in the bin in the backyard but somehow the Kite, given its sharp eye sight got it. Augur Buzzards also emit their repeated nasal “nhwaa!nhwaa!…” as they hunt around away from their otherwise normal hunting grounds-open fields with mole excavations. These guys are mole hunters. Well, there is a small open field closeby, so this partly justifies their presence but occasionally they swoop downwards and pick up something;definately food remnant. A walk around the perimeter wall,what I wouold describe as the estate’s backyard, Marabou Storks, Sacred Ibises and Cattle Egrets almost always post sentry at about any one given time along a polluted stream at a dump-site(now cleared but the posting sentry culture still continues).
The main highway through Nairobi otherwise Mombsa road heading eastward has become a breeding site for ciconiformes-the family of storks, herons and egrets. Heronries (mixed congregations of the ciconiformes) occur on most Acacia trees, clustering at the different separated tree groves that border the highway.
The whole point here is not how Kenyan birds have become urbanized but that they have dived into the stresses of the city especially into the stresses of pollution-noise, smoke, food from refuse dumps, whereas water in some cases is sewage water. To a greater part therefore, these stresses are of intoxication form.
Statistics show an increase in respiratory illnesses in humans in most cities around the world and Nairobi is not an exception, majorly because of the intoxicants from vehicle and industrial carbon gases. Talking of exhaust and industrial fumes, the birds in the city ‘look dirty’ in particular the smaller birds and in particular the House Sparrow that ventures close into proximities of the fumes-emitting vehicles and industrial premises, even nesting on some of these buildings. To a keen observer, the white-coloured egrets on Mombasa road are only naturally,clean looking and white as their counterparts out of town when they moult then the clean moult is subjected to the smoke and dust and quickly becomes brown or even blackish. I can only wonder how the inside of their bodies is? what of their lungs? and what of their livers that have to struggle detoxicating their blood? I know there is serious intoxication going on in these creatures despite their quest for the town-bound movement being satiated.