Manas, a two-month old owl, was brought to the Jain Charity Bird Hospital with serious injuries in his leg and back. Today, after a month of treatment, he walks with ease. Volunteers at the hospital jump with delight, as they see him rolling and playing in the nests. The Hospital, situated next to the famous Jain Mandir in Sadar Bazaar, receives 8 to 9 birds like Manas every day.
Naresh Chand Jain, the CEO of Jain Bird Hospital, laid the foundation in September 2009. It started with 40 birds – picked up from the Delhi hospital, the roads, or abandoned by insensitive owners. Jain has been successful in saving the lives of nearly 900 birds – that were either badly injured, starving, or even dying.
What prompted Jain to open a bird hospital was an accident on his terrace. He found an injured pigeon there one day. It had collided with a sharp wire. He couldn’t save the pigeon’s life. “We rushed to Delhi, but he died on the way. The accident persuaded me start a hospital of birds in the City. Also, my religion, Jainism, that is known for its compassionate attitude towards all living creatures, inspired me to take up the mission,” says Jain, an ex-SBI employee.
While the most frequent patients to the Hospital are pigeons, parrots, and French sparrows, the Hospital also receives owls, crows, and peacocks occasionally. All patients are given a high-protein diet two times a day. However, the Hospital doesn’t give any non-vegetarian item. Carnivores are sent to the Delhi hospital, after a first-aid treatment.
The Hospital is situated in a small two-storey building, owned by Jain (with the help of a few friends). It has a capacity for about 700 birds. Each bird is examined and assessed by a qualified veterinarian, before being given a cage. Apart from malnutrition, blindness, and accidental cases, the Hospital also receives paralytic patients, and patients suffering from chicken pox. “We offer medical facilities for almost all the ailments. We have medicines and infrastructure for even the most critical illnesses. To avoid infection, we regulate the temperature, and activate the centralised cooling system on both the floors in summers,” says Dr. Rajkumar, a veterinarian.
When asked about the infrastructure for performing surgeries in the Hospital, Dr. Rajkumar says, “The Hospital has performed a number of surgeries.
The most complicated surgery was on a tortoise. A lady came to us with a baby tortoise, who had been bitten by a cat; his body was so badly damaged that the owners had lost hope. We performed a surgery, under which the tortoise was given 66 stitches. He was saved, after a struggle for two days.”
The birds, once sufficiently recovered, are set free at a nearby park. To date, the Hospital has set free over 900 birds. The Hospital has a recovery rate of 80 per cent.
Plans are underway to open another bird hospital in the City. “We want to set up a similar facility in ‘new’ Gurgaon. However, the cost of land is a matter of concern. If any organisation/ individual is willing to donate even a two-room set for the hospital, we will be open for the proposal,” says Jain.
Besides, the Hospital is also working on a hostel facility for birds, since it receives a lot of requests from people who have no place to leave their birds when they go on a vacation. “Like dog hostels, we can start a hostel for birds. However, the wards would have to accept strict vegetarianism,” smiles Jain.
What needs to be done
Although the Hospital gets frequent volunteers, who want to work with birds, it has only one permanent doctor and one attendant. It seeks support from the City’s bird lovers, to become a fully-equipped hospital, with a complement of doctors, supervisors, and trained attendants – as well as a research laboratory.
Here’s an Advisory by the Hospital to the City’s bird lovers:
Turn off lights at night: Artificial lights often confuse birds, which results in fatal collisions with buildings. To prevent this, turn off the lights at night.
Prevent window collisions: Many birds strike windows, as they don’t recognise glass. Use light-coloured shades for windows, or place a net or a screen in front of the window, to keep the birds away. Also, place bird feeders (containers of food for birds) away from windows.
Keep cats indoors: Keeping cats indoors helps keep the birds outdoors safe.
Don’t use pesticides: Use the least toxic alternatives for combating pests at home, as pesticides are harmful for birds.
Keep feeders clean: Clean the feeders regularly with water-bleach solution, or a diluted vinegar solution, or non-fragranced soap.