Spectrum: Quenching the thirst of feathered beauties

Spectrum: Quenching the thirst of feathered beauties

Sultan bin Muhammad of Koppal has been providing food and water to birds for the last eight years.

Like in many parts of the State, the temperature in Koppal town has crossed 35 degrees Celsius this summer. While people are struggling to cope with the heat, the weather has made life worse for birds and animals. We see and hear messages urging people to set up a bird bath to help these feathered friends beat the heat, but very few care to act upon that. Sultan bin Muhammad of Koppal town is one such kind-hearted person who has been quenching the thirst of birds and other small creatures for the last eight years. He works as a driver in the Health Department in Koppal.

The premises of the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office in Koppal has over 100 trees, keeping the surroundings green and cool. Accordingly, many birds have taken shelter here and soothe the visitors with their constant chirping. To meet the drinking water needs of these winged beauties, Muhammad has hung three to four clay water bowls on each tree. Together, there are over 500 water bowls in the DC office premises. Hundreds of birds including myna, kingfisher, pigeon, crow, sparrow, woodpecker, parrot, etc drink water from the bowls. As birds drink only freshwater he cleans the bowls and refills them thrice a day. 

That apart, he has kept bird feeders in the premises and fills them with millet grains regularly. He buys over six kg of foxtail millet every three days for this purpose. Though one kilogram of foxtail millet costs around Rs 60, Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC)  has been supporting his service by lowering the price to Rs 100 for six kg. Still, every year he spends around Rs 15,000 for this purpose. The water bowls are custom-made at a cost of Rs 20 per bowl. He also intends to make cardboard boxes to act as nests, which the birds can use when necessary. He has not sought the help of anyone for this service and spends from his earnings. 

Interestingly, he does it throughout the year, not just in summer. He doesn’t turn away from this duty even on holidays. When he travels out of the town his colleague Devendrappa takes the responsibility. Muhammad acknowledges the moral support of his friends. Some of them have replicated it in a small way near their houses. Muhammad’s family members have also followed his example and have kept water bowls on trees near their house. 

“When I was strolling around the office eight years ago, I saw a flock of birds near a tap struggling hard to get a drop of water. Unfortunately, the tap had gone dry. Their struggle for water moved me and I decided to act upon it. The very next day, I bought water bowls and tied them to the trees,” says Muhammad, recalling the moment that triggered his
action. “Birds started drinking and bathing in the water bowls. Gradually I increased the number and added grain trays as well. It is so delightful and gratifying to see birds flocking around the bowls and trays,” he adds. One can contact Muhammad on 9880730809.

(Translated by Anitha Pailoor)