I am a coffee addict and a birding enthusiast. As I tour different parts of Rwanda, I never miss an opportunity to observe birds and listen to their soothing melodies. As far as coffee is concerned, it is this aromatic beverage that fuels my adventurous spirit.
Yesterday, I wrote something about the peninsula on which coffee is grown. This breathtaking piece of land, owned by Kivu Belt Coffee, happens to be home to different species of birds. It is located in Gihombo Sector of Nyamasheke District, Western Province of Rwanda.
In this plantation, Grevillea trees are planted to enrich the soil and protect the crops against excessive exposure to sunlight and wind. A canopy of these trees has created a birding paradise. By visiting this gem, birding and coffee fanatics like me hit two birds with one stone.
Birds are gifted musicians. I have fond memories of songs released by talented birds during my childhood. Different species of birds have unique tones and genres while some individuals have their own signature songs. Some have one song in their repertoires while others have several singles. A few of them claim ownership of an album or two.
I love songs produced by birds and I bet you do too. However, birds don’t sing to entertain us. They do so to deliver messages to fellow birds. Their sounds are designed to convey different messages to specific recipients. What sounds like a hit song could be a message encoded to inform a female bird that the male "singer" is available for mating.
Birds are hardworking creatures. The day I started paying attention to these adorable wild animals, one foreign tourist who understands wildlife better than I do, was talking about their busy lives. I pointed at one hawk-eyed bird, that seemed to be doing nothing on a branch of a tree, while disagreeing with him. Little did I know that the bird in question was there to detect security threats and send signals to family and friends. Contrary to my judgment, that bird wasn’t hanging out idly. It was on duty.
Birds have more important things to do than singing for us. Like many other creatures in the competitive animal kingdom, they have to work hard to survive. They put in long hours every day of their lives. They neither take a day off nor go on vacation. In their economy, it’s business as usual during weekends and public holidays.
Some of these animals perform tasks that are similar to jobs people do. Did you know that some birds work as interior designers? Wildlife will never stop amazing me!
As I strolled around the plantation, I saw a lot of construction projects. Birds were busy building nests, an activity that requires an advanced level of expertise. Those neat penthouses made of woven grass, camouflaged with moss and lined with mud prove that these creatures boast highly developed skills.
Superb work ethic, exemplary teamwork, impressive resilient spirit, profound communication skills — I can go on and on trying to phrase my observation. As I mentioned earlier, birds have more important things to do than singing and, obviously, we can learn a lot from them.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Nyamasheke is sponsored by Nyamasheke District, The Click Creations, Tec Global Ltd, Elimo Real Estate Ltd and Exposure.