January 2, 2012

Feeding the Birds at Ueno Park

Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park. The pond consists of three sections, this being the Lotus Pond. It goes without saying that the Lotus Pond isn't at its prettiest at this time of the year, but there's something oddly striking about seeing all the dead lotus leaves and pods. The pond is also notable for its size -- it's the biggest lotus field I can ever remember seeing in a Tokyo park.

Since this is bird migration season, there were several duck species that you can't usually spot.

The ducks were all swimming oddly, necks stretched out and beaks skimming the water. It made for quite a funny sight.

On one side of the pond, a group of old men were gathered, feeding rice and bread to the ducks and the dozens of sparrows blanketing the bushes.

It was clear that this was a daily routine for them. They had detailed tips on how to feed the ducks, such as rolling the bread into a ball so they could peck at it, or the prime spot to hold out your handful of rice for the sparrows.

They were also extremely generous with their food. The trick is to keep extremely still. As an old man said, "Once you get one, they'll all come."

A duck, mid-flight. Come June, I'll be back here to photograph the blooming lotuses and (hopefully!) duck babies.

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