By Ranganayaki Srinivas
Who wouldn’t love to wake up to the chirping of birds rather than to the honking and clamour so typical of a city? But how do we get the feathered ones to chirp outside our window? We need to woo the birds to visit our backyard. It doesn’t end with this. If their first visit does not fulfil their specific requirements of safety, food and water, they will leave and never return.
My first foray into getting birds to my backyard brought two sparrows and now over 300 birds come by. They include Scaly-breasted Munias, Sparrows, Tickell’s blue flycatchers, Wren Warblers, Oriental white-eyes, Rufous Treepies, Jungle Babblers, Common Tailorbirds, Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Cuckoos, Crow Pheasants, Spotted Pigeons, and more. That’s not all. I have a scurry of squirrels trying to imitate the birds, leaping from one branch to another to reach their food.
Like many bird enthusiasts, I started with an earthen bowl of water. I would check throughout the day and found no takers. Yet, by the end of the day, the water level had gone down. I had no idea whether it was due to evaporation or if some birds had quenched their thirst from it. A couple of days later, I placed some leftover food next to the bowl of water. In less than an hour, a group of noisy babblers landed. They pounced on the food and drank from the bowl of water. This taught me an important lesson. Birds need water and food together. They will not come for just one. The next day I placed a green plastic plate of millets and a bowl of water on the garden wall. I had new visitors now – Scaly-breasted Munias and sparrows. Soon, the species increased, their number increased. My backyard has become an adda for birds. They chirp, twitter, sing, coo or break into a happy song all day long.
From the Puttenahalli Diaries– Seeing her brother feed over a hundred sparrows in his house in Chennai, Ranganayaki Srinivas began to do likewise in Hyderabad. She feeds not only sparrows but a host of other species as well. See some of them in this youtube link.