Earning his livelihood by doing odd jobs himself, little did Joseph Sekar know what began as a small endeavour to feed birds on his terrace would become a tourist attraction in the heart of Chennai.
Fondly known as ‘Birdman’, Sekar who resides on a rented house, has never failed to host his ‘green friends’. For the past 16 years, he has been feeding scores of parrots.
Working as an electrician and camera repairman, Sekar spends ₹1,500 per day to feed his friends, twice a day. The sum amounts for at least 40% of his earning.
Sekar has been serving his winged friends since Chennai was hit by the deadliest tsunami in 2004, killing thousands of people while many animals lost their homes. It was then Sekar became a ray of hope for hunger pangs birds, searching for food in the corner of his house.
It initially started from 4 birds, but now thousands of parakeets appear on his terrace, attracting the attention of people globally.
Sekar sets his day by waking early by 4am, goes to to the market and buys 40kg of rice, soaks them in water and it is ready to served on the nearly aligned wooden planks.
“Keeping soaked rice and water for the sparrows is a family tradition. So after I moved to Chennai some three decades ago, I continued the practice. But this was the first time when I saw parakeets coming to my terrace regularly. That was the beginning of my tryst with the beautiful birds. I didn’t even realise when the numbers touched thousands,” says Sekar.
As the winged features feed on themselves, Sekar mans his shop, which is at the ground floor of the building. During interval he keep an eye on the birds or clean the planks once the ring-necked parakeets leave.
Sekar’s house has also become one of most-visited spot in the heart of Chennai. Looking at his thankless job many Good Samaritans also contributed towards this cause.