Ex-banker builds secure nests for winged friends

By Asit Srivastava, IANS,

Kanpur : A sparrow’s nest fell in C.L. Khanna’s courtyard. The eggs were smashed. Khanna cried, gave up his job as a banker and has been building nests for the last nine years.

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“I derive a unique sense of satisfaction by helping birds in this way. I cannot put in words what I feel when birds use my nests for raising their young ones,” 65-year-old Khanna, a former senior branch manager of the Bank of Baroda, told IANS.

Be it on trees, poles, abandoned buildings or multi-storeyed apartments in this crowded industrial city, Khanna has been placing hundreds of nests at places which he feels are safe for his winged friends.

He said the fall of eggs from a bird’s nest not only prompted him to take up the nest-building exercise but also motivated him to take voluntary retirement from his job as a bank manager.

“It was in 2001. A sparrow had built a nest in my courtyard. After some time, the sparrow laid eggs. I used to monitor the sparrow almost every day, particularly when the bird used to arrange and re-arrange the twigs in the nest,” recalled Khanna.

“While observing the sparrow, I developed an association with the bird and waited eagerly to see the young ones hatching out of the shells. But it never happened. All the eggs were destroyed after the nest fell on the ground.

“I felt very bad… I even cried that day. This incident was a turning point in my life. That day I decided to serve birds. I took voluntary retirement, thinking I would get more time to serve birds.”

Since 2001, Khanna has been living up to his pledge. His friends, neighbours and relatives have now joined him.

“Initially, no one, not even my family, realised my seriousness towards building nests. They thought I had started this as a post-retirement hobby and would leave it after some time. However, later when they observed my work closely, they developed an interest and are now helping me build nests,” said Khanna, a resident of Azad Nagar here.

Khanna uses pieces of wood, twigs, string, yarn, lint and other materials to build nests.

“It usually takes 7-10 hours to build one nest. The main thing to be kept in mind while making the nest is that it should neither be too heavy or too light,” said Khanna, who also teaches nest-building to others interested in helping birds.

“It’s just a matter of two-three days to learn how to build artificial nests. It’s really cherishing to help birds and see them using your nests for habitation,” said Karunesh Awasthi, who helps Khanna build nests.

Neighbour Keshnath Sagar said: “We feel proud to be involved in this unique service of providing habitation to birds which spend hours searching and collecting materials to make a cosy nest.”

(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at [email protected])