Feeding the birds in winter

“Whoever is merciful even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgment.” Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

As inclement weather conditions are likely to prevail in valley, the harsh winter doesn’t only bring hardships to the common people but to the birds who find it difficult to survive in crucial winter months.

Winter is a very fragile time for birds and they face many difficulties to survive in crucial winter months.

The birds face food scarcity in winters. They face food crisis in winter and it gets worse when snow covers the  fields.

It is usually seen in winters that the fields, particularly paddy fields, get covered with snow, one of the major natural sources of these birds to feed themselves as they eat the leftover grains. When it is covered with snow the birds find difficult to survive. The birds though have acquired some adaptive behaviors that help them survive, but the harsh winters effect them and they rely on artificial feeding.

There is a food shortage for these birds in winter months mostly because the snow covers fields and other places, the birds mostly rely upon humans for survival during these crucial months as seen and observed. Many rarely found birds are also seen coming to human habitations from forest areas in search of food. Also the migratory birds who arrive in different parts of the valley to stay in different wetlands here also find difficult to survive.

Due to freezing temperatures and freezing of wetlands these avian guests shift their usual winter habitat from wetlands to other warm and feasible ambience.

In earlier times the migratory birds used to visit even remote paddy fields of Kashmir to feed on leftovers grains, but that habit was not noticed anymore for many reasons including habitat loss due to development and industrialisation.

In the valley fresh snowfall and freezing temperatures have set in signalling a harsh winters, the netizens have been asking people to feed birds during these months so that they survive without any difficulty.

The bird lovers have also urged people to leave some grains or leftover food at suitable places for these birds so that they don’t face any difficulty in searching for food and survival.

IAS officer and Srinagar’s deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal Chowdhary had a message like this, “Whoever is merciful even to a sparrow, Allah will be merciful to him on the Day of Judgment.” Request everyone to feed the birds around —-snowfall is harsh to them” he tweeted.

“Despite snow, our winged friends dropped in for breakfast. Tiny claws tip toeing all over the snow. With thick snow around, it’s hard for birds to find grains. Let’s do our bit. Place grains at accessible places ” a tweet from Tabindah Anjum, a journalist.

RJ Nasir Ali Khan in a tweet wrote, “Take responsibility and feed the birds daily in and around your home and locality. Please ask others to do the same till we have snow as it gets difficult for birds to find food . Remember a small act of kindness goes a long way”.

An advisory cum appeal to the general public was issued by animal husbandry department asking people to offer feeding like grains and other food items to birds.

” In view of the inclement weather conditions that are expected to worsen over the coming days, the naturally available feeds for birds may get concealed temporarily due to snow. As such an appeal is extended to general public to feed the birds by offering them whatever they can afford” reads an advisory issued by animal husbandry department to general public.

“Commonly available items in the household like rice, wheat, crushed maize, oats seeds etc may be layered over snow for the birds to eat” it further said.