Ruwi pigeons grow in number due to strangers’ love, care

On most humid mornings of August, people are frantically speeding along the Ruwi streets catching up with the last minute tasks preceding the weekend. In one corner of the busy streets, motorists reduce their speed to give way for the flock of pigeons that are being fed with grains by some good Samaritans who happen to pass by. This side of Ruwi, in recent years, has become a meeting point for these gentle avians.
It’s been a routine for Omar, a banker, to visit this place every morning with a handful of ‘bajra’ — a delicate grain that the birds love to feed on. Partnered with a bowl of water, their meal for the day is taken cared of.
While busy strewing the grains much to the delight of the birds and also begin to gather near him, Omar explained that there are two reasons why he has been feeding the birds for years now.
“The first is because these birds are hungry and thirsty especially in summer and it’s our obligation to feed them,” he shared.
“Secondly, it’s a great deed [feeding the birds] as is said by our prophet Mohammed, pbuh, “Never does a Muslim plant a plant or cultivate a land and out of that a bird or a man or an animal eats but he is rewarded for it as an act of charity,” he said.
“We are advised to feed these mute birds and animals around us to gain ‘hasana’ from Almighty Allah”, he explained as he pulled the sleeves of his long robes.
Kind gestures like the one being made by Omar means a lot to these creatures. In the summer, their primary challenges are third and hunger and fueled by a very hot temperature, the birds cannot go very far in search for food.
In the same manner, Zaman, an expat driver who visits the place regularly said that he too had been feeding the birds for nearly two decades now.
He noted that because here, food is readily available, the number of pigeons is observed to have grown quite a lot.
“I usually keep a bag of grains in my car and most of the time, the supply is sufficient to feed them for the next three months,” he shared.
“This area has a great potential to grow as a tourism destination in Ruwi, besides the downtown shopping because of the birds,” he shared.
While pigeons in ancient history perform important tasks especially in delivering messages, the pigeons in Ruwi weren’t trained for such purpose. Despite this, Omar and Zaman always find pleasure in setting aside a small portion of their time to care for the animals.
“I personally believe that these birds are intelligent and are thankful for the gestures given to them,” Omar said.
“The moment they spot my car, they know their meal has arrived and they take Lilliputian leaps in big groups and come closer to me. That itself is so fascinating to watch and be a part of,” he shared.