Lucknow is home to a variety of birds. From beautiful faakhtah (Dove) to melodious koel, from splendid pigeons to chirpy bulbuls, the list is endless. Birds have always been an inseparable part of Lucknow’s culture. For example, earlier Lucknow was known for “Kabootar bazi”, a type of pigeon endurance race.
Nakhaas in Chowk area has been the prominent bird market in Lucknow for decades. A walk through Nakhaas wouldn’t be complete until you notice those shops showcasing colorfully-feathered birds in cages. People who like to keep birds as pets can find a variety of beautiful birds there.
In the recent years, the bird population in the city has gone down tremendously. Cutting down of trees at a large scale for construction has resulted in loss of habitats for birds. This had forced the chirpy, beautiful creatures that once adorned the city in great number to look for shelter elsewhere.
A specific variety birds that had to suffer owing to the environmental challenges faced by Lucknow is the House Sparrow. The sparrow population has immensely decreased over the last few years in Lucknow or for that matter, all urban environments elsewhere.
The situation requires immediate attention. Several organizations and authorities have come up with a number of initiatives to help preserve the bird population. The contribution of the citizens of Lucknow is also critical to revive, rehabilitate, and protect the diminishing bird population of the city.
Here are a few simple things we can do to help preserve the bird population in our city.
Arrange for water sources
The scorching summer heat can be really hard upon our little featured friends. Birds need clean water for drinking as well as bathing. Seed eating birds like the House Sparrow have a dry diet and hence they need more water to drink than birds that feed on insects. You may want to keep a bird bath in your garden. For that, you can make use of any wide-mouthed or a vessel for keeping water for birds. Make sure that you clean the vessel/bird bath and fill it with fresh water regularly. The only needed is that the vessel or container should be free from any sharp edges. Earthen vessels seem to be the best though.
Put up bird feeders
Keeping bird feeders for birds who visit your garden is a good way to provide additional nutrition to their diets. You may purchase a bird feeder from a pet store or order it online. Also, you can make your very own bird feeder with the help of plastic bottles, tin cans or wooden planks. The seeds in the feeders should be protected from water, squirrels and bird droppings. Make sure you clean the feeders on regular basis.
Provide a safe shelter
Another way to invite the birds to your house is by installing bird boxes. Not only these provide a safe shelter for the birds, they’re also a great way for making your garden or terrace more beautiful. A large variety of nest boxes are available in the market for you to choose from. In case you do not find a suitable nest box, you can make your very own bird house by recycling old boxes or wooden planks lying around in your house.
Protect the birds from your pets
Your pet cats and dogs may harm birds in several ways. They may chase the birds, disturb them or even kill them. The threat is highest during spring and summer which is generally the breeding season for birds. This is the time when young birds are learning to fly and can be an easy target for pets. All you need is to ensure the bird shelters and feeders are installed at safer places.
Do not cage birds illegally
Stopping capturing and caging of birds is the most important step towards protecting them. In case you are willing to keep birds as pets, make sure you purchase only captive-bred birds from a reputable breeder or a pet store.
The thrill of spotting beautiful birds and listening to their chirps and songs can be achieved without caging them. A well-kept backyard or a garden will attract a variety of birds.
A greener city
From cleaner air to providing shelter for various creatures, there are a number of reasons why we need to plant more trees in the city. Trees provide a safe shelter to birds and planting more trees will have a great impact on the dwindling bird population. You may plant more trees and plants in your garden or parks in your locality. You may also be a part of the various tree plantation drives which take place in Lucknow from time to time.
These easy steps will go a long way in ensuring a safe and natural habitat for the birds. The onus of protecting the environment and offering the birds a greener and safer city lies upon the citizens.