Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Something for the winged variety

Vishwajeet Naik has set a perfect example by putting up water feeders for thirsty birds in his garden. As many as 16 varieties of birds visit his garden now

The mercury is rising like never before. While we humans might sit under the fan and sip on some juice, our winged friends have to suffer the sun helplessly.

Birds feel very thirsty due to the heat and their options of water such as the dew drops or ponds and streams of clear water are scarcely available in a city like Pune. Water feeders, which can be installed in a balcony or a garden, can act as a saviour for these thirsty birds. Vishwajeet Naik--a wildlife photographer and a painter has installed six such water feeders in his one and half acre garden at his residence in Camp.

"Every bird has a specific timing for drinking water or visiting a water-body," says Naik, who has also installed over 200 artificial boxes for the birds. He adds that the Indian myna visits the water-body all over the day, while pigeons flock around in the evening and the kites come around in the afternoon. "Small birds generally drink the water drops on the leaves of trees. Birds such as the tailor bird, Ashy Prinae, sun bird, white eye and bul bul come to my garden to drink water," says Naik, who has taken guidance regarding birds from his father and well-known ornithologist Satyasheel Naik.

Naik advises the use of a one to one-and-a-half inch deep tray made of cement to be used as a water feeder. "Birds not only come to drink water but also to have a bath. So the feeder should be deep enough," he says. He says that the water should be changed preferably everyday or at least three times a week.

"People who want to create such a facility for birds in their balconies can use saucers to store water," he says. The water feeders at the Naiks' residence have been made of mud with lotus and gappi fish in it. "White breasted kingfishers also flock my garden due to the fish," he says.

"During summer, many birds have their breeding season, so these boxes help in nesting and breeding," says Naik adding that the artificial boxes in his garden have seen 70 per cent occupancy.

(Pic courtesy: Vishwajeet Naik)

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