“Aunty, are they all your pets?”
The 16 something girl living next door whose family had newly shifted in our society came to my mother and asked.
I was there too. Pets!!?? I smiled.
“No, I just feed them!” My mother replied to the girl.
While in countries like America gardening and bird-feeding is amongst the top popular hobbies of most households, young and old, in India, sadly, I observe, the picture is not so delightful. Ironically so, since the Indian subcontinent is a bird watcher’s paradise with around 1400 odd species of birds, reflecting the rich natural life of the country. One can find some of the rarest wild bird species in the subcontinent. In fact, some of them are believed to be extinct in the rest of the world!
Backyard bird feeding is a convenient way to enjoy some fascinating birdlife. While common birds are bound to visit, depending on the location of your house, some not so common birds flying from nearby farms or vegetation too might become your guests.
All you need to do is put a bird-feeder in your backyard or compound and maintain it by keeping fresh food and water in it. Soon enough, some feathered creature will show its appreciation and make an appearance…
That’s all it takes. Before you know it, you’ll start to recognize individuals and the messages in their behavior and songs/calls. And trust me, it feels awesome just to watch them doing their things, at least my mom swears by it.
She got it custom-made from a local iron-smith; my mother’s bird-feeder is really a functional one. On this really high top there is a rectangular metal tray to put grains and other food like bread crumbs and nuts and below that tray there hang two earthen pots for water.
Well, when birds arrive and sit on top of the food tray, they are very high to look at, making it difficult to photograph them with a line of sight perspective. Even in the convenience of my home compound, I have to find some hide, climb up on something to reach the height of the birds feeding there and as I struggle to balance myself with my 1.75 KG DSLR handheld, I would smile and say – “Wildlife photography is wildlife photography, whether it’s a jungle or your own home!”
“They feel safe at that height; making them feel like coming to eat in the first place…and that is the whole point, TO FEED THEM…!” my mother would say in reply… :)
Here is an exclusive collection of photographs of the birds in and around my mom’s bird-feeder in the backyard!
House Sparrow Female
Purple Sunbird Male
Purple Sunbird Female
House sparrow Male
Red Vented Bulbul
Images & Article © 2013 Gyaneshwari Dave