Chennai: Being a resident of Chennai, one knows very well about the thousands of pigeons that are being fed every day at the Marina beach.

It is a humane initiative by a Rajasthani family that shows its benevolence towards every living being on the planet. Standing there amid the thousands of birds is surreal. It is a photographer’s paradise and a magical experience for every child.

But you don’t have to trek all the way to Marina for this experience. On the small terrace on top of a serene apartment at Ramasamy Salai, K K Nagar, Ashok nagar, Chennai, K Harish Kumar feeds hundreds of wild pigeons every morning. The reason, he says, is that it simply makes him happy and the rest of his day is made.

Harish has been a resident of K K Nagar for the past 40 years. As a landscape consultant by profession, he is an admirer of nature and every living being on earth. His ideas, such as the ‘Birthday Trees’, wherein a person would plant a tree every birthday, was a way to help and care for nature.

While commuting to places, he always carries a packet of biscuits for his four-legged ‘friends’ on the streets. “There isn’t a street that is without dogs that come to play with me and expect the biscuits I have in the bike,” smiles Harish.

What started as a handful of wheat for a couple of pigeons, which sat on his balcony, has now became several kilograms of wheat for almost 500 pigeons every day. During his childhood days, Harish raised pigeons, which made him very fond of them.

Even though he is unable to create a loft and have homing pigeons on his own, he is more than happy just to feed feral pigeons (Columba livia) that come to his terrace. “It gives me peace when I see about 500 pigeons fly around the terrace and have their fill,” he reminisced.

He has been observing their flying pattern and behaviour even as he feeds them. On the day Cyclone Vardah hit Chennai, the pigeons cramped together in any crevice they could find. And when the rain and wind stopped for a while, the birds flew haphazardly, unlike the  synchronised flying formation they indulge in on normal days. This, he says, is because of the tremendous stress the birds underwent during the storm.

Almost 10 kg of wheat is used on a single day. Harish, who gets the grains by spending from his own pocket, says that he has been buying around 300 kg of wheat every month. “Nothing goes waste. Every grain is polished off by the pigeons,” laughs Harish.

A pitcher of water is regularly filled several times in a day, which is actually a birdbath.

Along with his spouse, Harish hopes to never let any animal, bird or plant go without proper love and care. Any injured or sick animal is given asylum in his house and he takes care till they are cured.

He jests, “The only drawback of 500 pigeons eating 10 kg of wheat every day is the menace they are to the neighbour’s cars!”


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