Twice a day, Joseph Sekar, a camera mechanic, goes to the roof of his camera repair shop in Chennai, India, and feeds 8,000 parakeets. That's right, 8,000 birds, twice a day. It's a lot, but for Joseph, nothing brings more joy than watching the birds fly and knowing they are well-fed and healthy. He's the Birdman of Chennai—and he couldn't be happier.
For the past 11 years, the 63-year-old has been spending half of his daily income to feed his feathered friends.
Joseph diligently puts out 30 kilos of rice on top of his terrace, attracting upto 8,000 birds daily. His mission of feeding birds started years ago during the times of tsunami. Joseph used to put some rice grains and water for squirrels and sparrows to feed on. However, during tsunami, a pair of ring-necked parakeets, a once near-extinct species, started arriving his terrace. Realising the need to feed the distressed birds, Joseph took it upon himself to ensure that there is more food. He started arranging wooden planks on his terrace and serving rice on them every day during the morning and evening hours. Soon, thousands of parakeets made his roof their pit stop, feeding on the food provided. The birds would arrive, peck on their food, and leave.
In 2015, when the floods hit the city of Chennai, the number of visitors arriving Joseph rose again.
While his terrace could accommodate up-to 3,000 parakeets, over 5,000 birds started visiting him. "On a normal day I would have to clean the terrace twice after the birds leave as the rice would be spilt on the ground. But during the rains I would have to clean the place at least five times so that the rice did not get washed away," Joseph told The News Minute.
The first meal is served early in the morning before daybreak and the second in the evening
The number of birds visiting varies with the season, going down to 2,000 in the summer months and swells up to as many as 8,000 daily as the weather cools down.
The spactacle of thousands of birds descending onto a city rooftop also attracts birdwatchers, from all around the world
He also keeps a cage for birds who arrive injured or ill, hosting them until they recover and fit to fly again.
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