A bowl of water for the birds
In Bangalore, a Water Bowl Project offers free terracotta bowls to bird lovers who would like to look after the birds through the summer
Usually the birds around our garden stay rather far from us humans and our apartments as well. However with the heat a pair of pigeons and Bulbuls have been visiting our balcony and I stood quietly behind the curtain to check why. The poor things were coming to drink the run off, of the water poured for the plants in the balcony. Every pot has a plate below it, into which the water collects and knowing there is always water there, several birds have been frequenting the balcony.
However we have now put a shallow bowl of water out for the birds through this hot season.
A number of people have begun doing that across the city of Bangalore. But one has to remember, a bird does not drink from a deep bowl lest it falls in and drowns. Therefore put out a large shallow bowl cum plate with an edge on which they can perch.
Sarah Nathan and her daughter learned the hard way about this and all of us their FB friends learned from their experience. They put out a very nice looking deep bowl filled with water, hoping to see lots of birds frequent the bowl on their patio. But they were disappointed when none showed. When they changed the bowl to a shallow one they started seeing lots of birds frequent their balcony and in fact Rahel named the friendly Magpie Robin – Toby.
The stunning picture with this story is taken by Chandrakantha Ursu. He is an IT professional and loves going out on birding trips and taking pictures of birds. He shared, “ We are keeping water in a broken pot next to a Hibiscus plant in our backyard. To our great happiness, Magpies and Bulbuls are coming frequently to drink this water. Infact the Male Magpie is spending most part of the day singing, so he needs more water I am sure!”
With the city heating up this year to levels us humans are wilting with, leave alone the birds are used to,this is the least we can do. Plus fresh water is becoming an issue as well. This leaves very few places birds and stray animals can quench their thirst. In fact there is a FB page called Water Bowl Project which offers free terracotta bowls to bird lovers who would like to look after the birds through the summer. Sanjana Govindan the brain behind the Water Bowl Project says she checks out the people who want the bowls because she wants only responsible people taking them. People she is sure will be regular washing the bowl and replenishing the water. Because, as she explains, once the birds know of a spot they will keep coming there for water and it can be disconcerting if the bowl is empty. She says Bangalore had many parks and gardens in the past, which now have shrunk to tiny spaces with no sources of water.
So, to avoid a high rate of attrition in birds, we can think of them in this heat and put out some fresh water for them everyday.