Saturday, March 2, 2013

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.

7 comments:

keiko amano said...

Ashok,

I like the photo and the bird.

I used to feed birds in my backyard, but birds came and dropped seeds all over, and those seeds grew and became quite subborn thick grass and plants. It was menacing although I love sunflowers.

About feeding steamed rice, I think it attracts rodents.

ashok said...

Dear Keiko,

Yes I too get weeds and thick grass in my lawn but I keep pulling them out. The rice is put quite high up on the boundary wall and the birds finish it off by evening unless I put out a lot, but thanks for warning I shall be careful to put only a little of it out at a time. It is not very often because if only a little is left we try to finish it off and if it is a lot we keep it in the fridge and add it to the next days rice. We have rice everyday for lunch.

there used to be a lot of rodents in this area and I was compelled to use rat poison inside and out in the garden too although I detest killing but when they are causing damage one has to protect oneself and one's goods. One rat or mouse once ruined one of my best tweed coats and then on I just get rid of them. Fortunately though now there are cats in the neighborhood and we have very few rodents.

Rebb said...

What a cute little bird, Ashok. In the apartments where I live, one of the neighbors set out two bird feeders and water for the birds. It's nice to hear them and see them when I look out the window.

ashok said...

Hello Rebb, you know it is because of your inspiration that I have begun to go out and take pictures as you suggested some time time ago. To make posting easy I now also have a faster connection for uploading as well as a software that can cut down the size if required.

Yes birds are indeed sweet little things and delight the soul. I think a garden, countryside or forest will be near dead without them.

ashok said...

and you have a nice new profile image too!

Rebb said...

That's great to hear, Ashok. I'm glad you have been taking more pictures with your camera and found a program to reduce the size of the file.

Thanks, I'm thinking of changing my profile photo again, but have to take a few new photos first. : )

ashok said...

Look forward to a new photo with a close up view :)