The cheese-eating kites of Delhi

The cheese-eating kites of Delhi

So there I was, after my run, heading back to the car-park in Delhi’s Nehru Park, when I saw a large, noisy flock of birds wheeling and weaving very low, and a man running like hell for leather away from them.

So obviously I ran to investigate. (Obviously)

He was shouting something to me, but thanks to the uplifting music blasting through my headphones I couldn’t hear him, but from his agitated expression and flapping of his arms, I imagine he was telling me to stay away.

So obviously I ran closer to see what was going on. (Obviously)

There were crows, but it was the dive-bombing black kites that were slightly alarming.

On a low wall, someone had spread out “namkeen” – salty Indian snacks – for the birds. Don’t get me started on mis-placed “kindness” to street animals and birds, who need salty human snacks even less than we humans need them.

But it was some white cubes that were the focus of attention.

Afterwards one of the gardeners confirmed it was “paneer” – a kind of Indian cottage cheese – which I suppose is healthier.

Certainly the kites were swooping in non-stop to grab the paneer and within a matter of seconds, it was all gone. The kites didn’t seem interested in the “namkeen” and immediately disappeared, leaving the crows to the unhealthy snacks. The crows didn’t get a look in at the paneer, I might add.

I shouldn’t really have been surprised that these big, powerful birds were eating paneer – they are scavengers, after all – it was just the fact that they were SO close, dive-bombing a car park, with people all around, but they seemed least bothered by we humans.

A fascinating moment, over very quickly, but it was quite something to feel the birds swooping over my head.


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