Feeding the Birds
|A Red- tailed Bulbul feeding in the garden|
Putting out some bird food for the birds in one’s garden or terrace is a wonderful way to give something back to nature and also to fill the surroundings with the sweet song of birds all day. Occasionally they do make a racket but then which sweet creature including little children do not.
Premixed bird seed is not available in the Indian market to my knowledge but a variety of other foods that humans too use are available and one can prepare one’s own mix easily. millets are the most popular grain people use here to feed birds and there is also a special grass seed just for the birds called kangani that is much tinier than millets and a favorite of bird lovers. My own practice is to prepare a five kg mix of millets, kangani, white and black sesame seeds, yellow and brown mustard, crushed peanuts, crushed wheat and some washed split lentils. I have added sun flower seeds to the mix too but usually avoid it because it is expensive here. This is in line with my belief that good food either for the birds or humans does not have to be expensive. The five kilogram mix lasts for over two months. To this is added leftovers like steamed rice that the sparrows just love. Occasionally there are bread crumbs too although we tend to save those for our own use since they are required in a number of recipes. I do not feed the birds daily but keep missing days so that the birds do not become dependent and also hunt for other foods such as insects, fruits and stuff so that their health is not compromised by human feeding.
A red tailed Bulbul has become quite a friend and it waits for me most mornings on a tree branch. She is the first to jump on the seeds. She is followed later by a variety of other birds including large flocks of sparrows. Today I took my camera along to the corner of the garden where the bird feeding tray is suspended and snapped a photo of the Bulbul for this note.