Quality Quarantine: Feeding the Fauna during Lockdown
Meghna ‘Phoenix’ Ghatak
|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.
|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.
|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.