Different Nests of the Baya with the Ipomen, or Mhadavi, Creeper. Drawn on Stone by J. Forbes 1811
Artist: Forbes, James
Plate ten from the first volume of James Forbes'"Oriental Memoirs", a work in the form of a series of letters richly illustrated, describing various aspects of nature, people and buildings he met with during his travels in India in the 1770s-80s. Forbes(1749-1819) spent most of his working-life in India in Gujarat where he held the post of Collector in Bharuch and Dhaboi. This image of the Baya bird, or Bottle-nested Sparrow which lives in great colonies in the forests of Gujarat is one of Forbes' own lithographs. The Baya makes its nest from hay and fashions it into a steeple-hive shape which hangs from the chosen tree by a slender thread, keeping it out of the reach of predators, yet strong enough to withstand storms and bad weather. Up to 100 nests, containing large families can hang from the same tree. Of the Ipomen creeper Forbes writes: 'The Mhadavi is a most beautiful creeper, covering our seats and arbours with a small monopetalous flower surrounded by a foliage uncommonly delicate.'