Just two-minutes for our feathered friends


On a particularly hot summer day while I was having my customary evening walk in the neighborhood park, I happened to take note of a middle-aged man. My curiosity was aroused to see the man carrying water in a big polythene bag. There was an unmistakable sense of mission in his gait. Yes, he was on a mission to provide water to birds and strays.

I could not help noticing remarkable satisfaction on the face of the humble man as he poured water into an earthen pan lying on the boundary wall of the park. My eyes followed him as he crisscrossed the park from one spot to another to clean the pots and pour fresh water into the bird feeders. There were a couple of pots on the ground too, supposedly placed for the strays. What a noble gesture and an act of kindness!

Summers are harsh for everyone, and more so for birds. Our feathered friends find it harder to survive  heat without shade and water. Some end up flying miles to get to a water body, but by the time they reach there, many die due to heat and dehydration. Like humans, birds, too, need fresh, clean water for quenching their thirst and for re-hydrating. When the temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius, birds require water to cool down and also for bathing.

Thousands of birds and other species like butterflies, bees perish and are in despair, having no or minimal sources of water during summer. It doesn’t require much hassle or effort to save flying fauna, just the intent. All it takes is a little effort in placing a shallow earthen bowl of 2-3 inches depth filled with fresh water at a shady place in our balcony, terrace or garden. It is gratifying to see the birds quenching their thirst in intense heat.

Watching birds bathing in water is a delightful sight. It is sheer joy to observe birds dip into water, fluff up their feathers after a bath and flap their wings to shake droplets through their feathers. One moment a bird is perched on the edge of the pan, and the next moment you find it hop into water, wet itself, splash water around and hop out. What an enjoyable sight!

Summers are never easy for birds but this summer is really gruelling with record-breaking frequent and long heat waves over the past three months. The monsoon is still a month away.  Let us pledge to keep some water for our winged friends. A little effort and thoughtfulness on our part can help birds in a big way. And in return what we get is huge sense of satisfaction and immense joy. Providing water for birds doesn’t take more than two minutes a day but gives us a chance of watching them closely, even spotting cute rare birdies.

Imagine enjoying your cup of tea on your patio with the birds drinking water and bathing in glory!

(Published in Hindustan Times, Spice of Life column on 3 June , 2022)

19 Replies to “Just two-minutes for our feathered friends”

    1. True, a thoughtful gesture on the part of the man in the garden who inspired me to write this piece.

  1. A very good gesture indeed. Rama you have touched a great theme. Bravo…… Really proud of you dear ❤️❤️❤️

    1. Thank you so much Neelam . Your comment brings cheer to me and hopefully for our winged friends too.

  2. In this scorching heat birds , butterflies , bees and innumerable feathered friends really needs to be taken care of .A Great caring gesture of old man. You have rightly reminded us all it’s high time to take care of our feathered friends

    1. Thank you so much Mrs Chopra for standing by to read and leave your comment. In fact, that man in the garden became my inspiration for writing this piece.

  3. Rama I appreciate your concern for the sweet birdies and a thoughtful gesture on the part of humans. .. very well expressed!

  4. A very appropriate reminder to everyone in this scorching heat. I think most of the Indians do this because of the example set by their elders. These are the part of our training given to us by our elders. Let us keep following this so that our children follow us and pass on this legacy to the coming generations. And that’s how, ultimately traditions become culture of a country. Thanks Rama for such a beautiful reminder.

    1. Absolutely, a part of our tradition that we need to follow and pass on to our children. Thanks Mrs Dhamija for the comment on the issue that I missed in my article. A beautiful value addition that makes us proud of our culture !

  5. Very advisable read , those who are doing this act of kindness is satisfying . And those who are not doing will surely start it

  6. İt’s heartfelt thought n beautifully written.God bless those souls who are associated with such tasks including yourself.

    1. Absolutely delighted to read the comment from a dear old friend who is a nature lover. Thanks Nari.

  7. Thank you so much ma’am for reading and giving your valuable comments.Absolutely ma’am, Providing for birds is a sort of extension of highly laudable tradition of Langar and chchabeels, an integral part of Sikhism .

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