When Krishna, 29, a resident of Mulund, returned home after a vacation with his family last week, he found an owl and owlets in his basement. Apprehending that the birds must have been trapped, Krishna called for rescue, but later realised that the birds had made a nest in the house basement.
For animal activist Pawan Sharma, Krishna’s call of distress was not the first this season. “Since the onset of monsoon, an increasing number of wild birds have been nesting in the unlikeliest of places. Birds, like barn owls and kites, have laid eggs inside houses, which is otherwise uncommon,” Sharma said.
Birds laying eggs in urban settings, according to animal activists, is a fairly new phenomenon, one that underscores the man-animal conflict stemming from rapid urbanisation. “Wild birds come to human settlements because of the ease of finding food. With the destruction of more and more greens, birds are also losing their prey. The changing weather has also posed serious threats to animals and their young ones,” activist Kamla Kulkarni said.
Activists also worry that the birds will have to face further challenges even as they enter urban tenements. “Not all humans are comfortable with animals and they might try to harm the birds,” Sharma said.
For Krishna’s family in suburban Mulund, the primary concern was the birds’ safety. “We called for rescue as we wanted the birds out of the house. But now, we are told the birds will go on their own,” he said.
Sharma said that owls usually make nests in places that are empty. “Usually once humans start interacting within these spaces, they leave. Otherwise, they leave once their young ones grow up,” he said.