House of sparrows

In a building by the sea, lives an auto driver who nurtures over a hundred sparrows

It’s easy to locate C Azeez’s house in Pattinapakkam — all you have to do is follow the twitter of sparrows. The two-storied building looks ordinary on first sight. But soon, it sprouts wings, beaks, and tiny four-clawed feet — they flutter from one window sill to the other; peek from in-between doors left ajar; twitter loudly as they dunk into the birdbath at the front yard; zoom into a birdbox at the staircase landing... the small patch of land by the sea is alive. All thanks to Azeez’s habit of feeding sparrows.

“There must be over a hundred sparrows around us this instant,” says Azeez. An auto driver, he started feeding sparrows ten years ago at his home. “I did it casually one day. A neighbour raised lovebirds in a cage and fed them a particular grain called chana . I assumed that sparrows will like them too,” he explains.

They liked it and how! The birds made his building their home. Azeez has made arrangements to ensure that they are comfortable. He has put up 20 birdboxes at various spots around his building; a birdbath; and a feeder that he’s devised from kitchen tools. The 51-year-old takes his bird-visitors seriously, and times his everyday activities around them.

He addresses sparrows as ‘avunga’, meaning ‘them’ in Tamil. “They will come out any minute to spread their wings and dig into the sand,” he says, pointing to a sandy stretch at his portico. “At any given afternoon, there will be at least 100 of them, doing the sand dance,” he smiles. Azeez knows the eating and sleeping habits of the sparrows like he does his kids’. “When I come for lunch, they come for their rice that I place on the wall,” he says, pointing to a line of cooked rice placed invitingly for little beaks to peck at....Read more


Source web page:The Hindu

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