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Quality Quarantine: Feeding the Fauna during Lockdown


Quality Quarantine: Feeding the Fauna during Lockdown

Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak

These 21 days, as India goes through trials and tribulations fighting COVID-19, emphasizing lock down, finding a reliable test as well as cure, a lot of online trends were seen worldwide. While many people were struggling with ‘working from home-working for home’ dilemma and triggering major memefest with parents loosing/winning the quest of keeping kids busy, others were forced to walk hundreds of kilometers towards home due to the transportation shutdown.  Netizens are applauding the virus warriors who are making sure that the people on the roads stay at home, the dogs on the streets are taken care of and the poor pedestrian travelers are free of hunger and sickness. Many lock down offenders are also being criticized as policemen are seen begging bike riders; quarantined people are seen fighting hospital staff etc.
A red-vented bulbul waiting for its turn

One of the most famous of these trends is posting the sudden surge in the appearance of wildlife on the once busiest streets of the world. From Nilgai in Noida, Sambhar Deer in Chandigarh , Dolphins in Malabar Hills and Marine Drive of Mumbai; to endangered species of Civet in Calicut and Olive turtles in Orissa were found conquering the deserted human territories. Even pets at home are so happy to find their humans by their side that there were reports of dogs hurting their tail muscles by wagging them too much out of happiness. People have reported that the slowing down of the busy streets around have allowed them to pause and hear the birds that they hadn’t heard call for a while.

Before the announcement of the nationwide lock down, I had happened to spot a pair of sparrows and a few stray cows and dogs frequenting an electricity pole near my balcony so I decided to hoard bird seeds and giant packets of Parle-G to tackle hunger during this COVID-19 quarantine. The end result was marvelous, pretty much those old stories of load shedding where people fell in love with the connection they felt with their loved ones and themselves that they begun to miss it after their previous busy lives take over.
Feral/City pigeon sitting by the food

While I cannot physically feed the cows, dogs and birds in my vicinity due to social distancing issues, I set up a water and a food bowl fashioned from old utensils. I would fill them up for the birds in the balcony and throw biscuits at the passing strays on a regular basis. Within a few days, I had regular visits from almost all kinds of fauna existing around me. Cows and dogs started stopping by my balcony at the sound of my voice, some responding to given names, wagging their tails enthusiastically. They would scatter at the cracking biscuits I sent flying at them and lick every morsel from the ground. Luckily, with the coming of rains for two consecutive days, potholes filled up with water, right next to where the biscuits landed for them.
 A laughing dove feeding

Birds of all kinds started swinging and chirping from the grills of my balcony and with time, they got bold enough to not bother the presence of people or pets in their proximity and helped themselves to the seeds or water kept for them. I managed to photograph a few either dipping their beaks hurriedly or just sitting on the edges of the bowls, grain sticking on their lithe bodies.
On the wires of the electric pole, partially hidden by the branches of two saptaparni/blackboard trees, we saw many varieties of birds such as green bee-eaters, black drongos, parrots, laughing doves, rock pigeons, common sparrows, red-wattled lapwings, bulbuls, Asian koel among others; peeking hopefully at my balcony. I have already uploaded pictures of almost all of these native Indian birds in my posts about them that I had clicked in the subcontinent earlier.
A pair of common house sparrows perched in the food bowl

It gave me great delight to spot these native birds in my vicinity and I hope everyone can stay at home for a while, during this lock down and observe as many varieties of these beautiful feathered beings, fluttering about, at a tree near you.

Comments

  1. This quarantine has show us that nature was asking for a break!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Seeing sparrows after a long long time. Thanks....

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love this post! Since quarantine has begun, I have spent quite a bit of time watching the world around me, including the native birds to my area!

    ReplyDelete
  4. 😍 This lock down has proven that we have somehow became blind to our nature that even the little sight of incredible nature makes us crazy

    ReplyDelete

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