The colourful visitors

Alisha Shinde
Saturday, 14 April 2018

Bird feeders and nest boxes not only help our feathery friends but also enhance the look of our gardens and balconies

Imagine waking up in the morning not to the annoying alarm but the melodious chirping of birds. How refreshing would that be? But birds will not visit you unless you have flowering plants in your balcony/ terrace or you have greenery around your home. In summer, putting water bowls in the open spaces will also attract feathery friends. 

Summers can be harsh not only for humans but birds and animals too. Installing feeders, water bowls and nest boxes will not only help our feathery friends but make the terraces and gardens beautiful.  Shivani Mohite, an IT professional who has been using bird feeders for a long time now, says, “Over the years, I have been putting water and food on plates for birds and squirrels. However, I realised that the number of visitors were less. So I decided to put up bird feeders and nest boxes around my home.” 

Initially, she started with a feeder in each of her balconies and filled it with a mix of bajra, jowar and some water. “In a couple of days, sparrows, spotted munjas, mynas, bulbuls and parrots were visiting us and taking turns at feeding and drinking water. It was a joy to see them all and small babies followed soon, which was even more exciting,” she says.

She further adds that she also put up a couple of nest boxes and saw baby sparrows and bulbuls coming to life and flying away. “To be in the company of birds is an amazing experience. Watching them play in water is delightful and even their chirping is way better than any wind chime in your balcony,” says Mohite.  
While they enhance your home aesthetics, it is important to keep the bird feeders and nest boxes clean and hygienic at all times. Talking about how Mohite takes care of these installations, she says, “All I have to do is wash the feeders once a month so that not only the container remains clean but also the food does not get spoilt.” She adds that the feeders are topped up every couple of days so that the birds are not disappointed. 

Taking care of the feeders is quite easy but one has to be very careful with the nest boxes because they need to be cleaned and have to be sterilised once the babies have fledged so that the next family can come in and start building their nests.
Parag Nikam, an entrepreneur, says, “Listening to chirping of birds early in the morning makes my day even more beautiful.” He got his first bird feeder a few years back when he realised a lot of tiny birds would come to his garden and his dog would keep barking at them since they pecked the grass. “But now that I have installed the feeders at a higher level, so my dog and even the birds are happy,” he adds. 

When the birds started visiting the garden, they started building nests in trees and bushes. “Because of strong winds sometimes the nests would fall on the ground, so then I decided to get a few nest boxes,” he adds. 

Talking about how he maintains the feeders and the nest boxes, he says that he makes it a point to wash and dry them completely in the sun before refilling them. “It is always a good idea to have a new bird family come in, but they won’t come in till the scent of the previous bird family has gone away, so it is important to dry them completely,” he explains.

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