Meet the Indian Man Taking Care of 4,000 Parakeets

A camera technician from India is the birds' surrogate father.

Meet the Indian Man Taking Care of 4,000 Parakeets | A camera technician from India is the birds' surrogate father.

Joseph Sekar’s camera repair shop in Chennai, India, doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. But the roof of Sekar’s shop is a world of brilliant color. Perched on wooden planks in neat rows, thousands of bright green parakeets come to feed every day. Meet Sekar, the generous, hardworking “birdman,” as he is affectionately known by locals.

During an interview with  Barcroft TV, Sekar was in a modest room, shelves stacked high with dusty analog cameras. Repairing cameras is only a small part of his work every day; he wakes up at 4:30 every morning and cooks rice, diligently laying out food each day for the eye-catching birds who arrive punctually at 6 am.  Over the years, Sekar has become a surrogate father to these parakeets.

He told Barcroft TV that a tsunami was the reason for the parakeets’ arrival. Thousands of parakeets had been displaced by flooding throughout India, and some of the birds migrated to Chennai, a city where they had previously been a rare sight.

After spotting two of the red-beaked birds sitting outside of his shop, Sekar gave them some rice to eat. To his amazement, the birds returned to his shop the next day in order to eat again, and brought others with them.

“Two parakeets brought ten more. It then started to multiply to 50, 100, then thousands began to flock to the place,” he said in the interview.

Today, Sekar estimates that he cooks 132 pounds of rice each day to feed around 4,000 parakeets. He said that he spends some 40 percent of his earnings from the camera repair shop on food for the birds. He also cares for injured birds, providing them with shelter and medications until they are well enough to strike out on their own again.

Sekar’s efforts are not only appreciated by the birds. Many locals are grateful that this Indian birdman’s urban sanctuary has provided a much-needed green spot in this bustling metropolis. “It’s a sight to behold. In a city like this, such a huge crowd of parakeets awes people,” a neighbor said.

Sekar explained that his motivation for feeding and caring for the birds stems from a sense of responsibility. “We human beings have parents to take care of us,” Sekar told Great Big Story.  “I consider myself the birds’ parents.” 

When Sekar decided to feed the original two parakeets who perched near his shop some 16 years ago, he had no idea that would lead to him discovering his life’s purpose.  “My motivation is to love all beings, including birds,” Sekar explained. His modest “sanctuary” in Chennai for thousands of birds proves that small acts of kindness have the potential to change the world for the better.

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