Ravenous birds aren’t typically the most welcome visitors on a thriving farm. It’s common for farmers to not only hasten their departure but also to make their stay an uncomfortable one. However, one farmer in Coimbatore, India has taken a surprising and more hospitable approach to his winged guests.
Muthu Murugan is a farmer who’s deeply passionate about wildlife and the environment. Over the years, Murugan has observed how the shortage of water in the area due to climate change has not only negatively affected farmers but also wildlife. In the past, Murugan had shown generosity towards visiting birds by placing extra seeds on the borders of his lands. Now, the 62-year-old has devised a plan to promote farmer and wildlife co-existence by designating half an acre of his land to the growth of sorghum and pearl millets basically, food for hundreds of wild birds.
Murugan’s lush farmland is attracting all sorts of wild birds, some of which are on the verge of extinction. “Birds (such as Scaly Breasted Munias and White Rumped Munias), peacocks and parakeets are frequent visitors to the farm,” Murugan says. “It is such a visual treat. During the crisis, we are so busy looking after the humans that we often forget about birds and animals. I am glad I could do my bit.” He believes that if more farmers would follow his lead and yield a small portion of their land to wild birds, they would see a decrease of raids in their larger areas.
Murugan also views this method of cohabitation as preserving natural history. “This is our opportunity to save several species from extinction,” he explains to Asian International News. “It is unfortunate that things have changed so much in our country. Many farmers hire youngsters to keep away these birds. Farmers today only think about making money.” Murugan adds, “We must understand that farmers will only benefit when the environment and all its creatures are taken care of. Even the government needs to take responsibility for the good health of the birds and animals.”
Murugan’s bird utopia of pearl millets creates a stunning and photogenic environment with a peaceful atmosphere. “Hundreds of tiny sparrows, parrots, and several other birds happily eat these every day,” Murugan admits. “I love this atmosphere where such a large number of birds come from long distances to eat the food I have grown for them. We take so much from nature and I believe it is our duty to give back as much as we can. Every farmer must save a small piece of land to grow food for birds.”
Although Murugan is aware that this method of co-existing can present some challenges to farmers, he maintains his conviction that it’s still necessary and important to try. He says, “It may not be feasible for all farmers to grow crops for birds but there are several ways in which we can allow the birds to play an integral part in preserving our biodiversity. Let us not forget them.” A farmer in India named Muthu Murugan is selflessly feeding hundreds of wild birds by growing food specifically for them on half an acre of his own land. Wildlife photographer Varun Alagar visited the farm for work and witnessed an amazing array of birds.