The afternoon rains had just ended and a beautiful cool breeze was blowing through Raghu’s room window.

One could hear a variety of birds chirping, insects buzzing here and there, dogs barking in the vicinity and an occasional vegetable vendor calling out to people to buy his vegetables. Meera had come over to Raghu’s house to work on their school science project on recycling. They had to make ‘something useful’ out of recycled material and were busy  researching ideas on what they could make.

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Meera was on the computer, surfing ‘recycled craft’ while Raghu was taking a short break to do his favourite activity – look outside his bedroom window. “Raghu did you know the Rock Garden in Chandigarh has been made from recycled material?” said Meera excited as she surfed a site that spoke about the Rock garden. “Hmmm….” said Raghu busy looking at the variety of birds outside busy searching for food and water. There were two pigeons wandering around on the small balcony above his window looking for food to feed their little ones, the crows cawing and drinking water from a little puddle that had formed on the front porch, two little sparrows that seemed to be fighting over a tiny worm, parrots flying around busily searching for some grains and a tiny hummingbird fluttering around on a nearby branch also seemingly in search of nectar.

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“Hey Meera! I’ll be back in a minute.” said Raghu, cutting Meera in between her speech about the Rock garden as he rushed downstairs. Raghu went straight to the kitchen, took out some old bread pieces from the refrigerator, a small bowl full of water and went outside to put these out for the birds to eat.  Meera looked out from the window above a little amused, yet annoyed at Raghu’s sudden distraction. “It isn’t very good to feed all the birds bread Raghu!” called out Meera as she started walking downstairs to find some grains she could put out.

As she came downstairs she saw Raghu’s mother carrying a box of empty Bisleri and Coke bottles.

“Meera, I’ll be back in a few minutes. I’m going to go throw these outside” said Raghu’s mother. “But aunty, these are plastic and cannot just be thrown with other waste. They need to be recycled” said Meera, revising what she had just read. “Yes, I know Meera, but how should I recycle them?” “Aunty can I please have a look.” Meera, looked at the 6 empty plastic bottles and smiled.

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“Aunty, please give me the bottles, I promise to do something useful with them” said Meera excitedly. “Sure dear, go ahead” said Raghu’s mother happy at the thought. Meera went outside to Raghu. “Raghu, I have an idea for our project. Let’s make different types of bird feeders from plastic bottles!”

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This idea caught Raghu’s fancy as he stopped and looked at Meera happily. He was not much of an artsy person and was bored with the idea of making art pieces or pen holders out of plastic cans and found this idea truly exciting. “Wow! Meera, you smarty pants! So how do we go about it?” asked Raghu.

“We will make a few feeders where we cut holes in the centre of the bottles big enough for birds to fit in and feed on the grains and others that we fit a wooden spoon through so that little birds can sit on it and eat the grains. Also we’ll make a few tiny holes at the bottom so rain water can drain. For the Hummingbirds we’ll have to make sweet water and fill it in the bottles. Their feeder will have a small tray with holes from which they can suck the water.

We’ll hang some of them on a rope between the two tree branches outside your room and hang the others at different places around your garden. We can also use different kinds of grains in each of the feeders and watch what types of birds get attracted to which feeder. That way we’ll get to enjoy watching the birds from your window and take relevant photos for our project!”

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Raghu was thrilled. “Come on let’s get to work Meera!” said Raghu as he shot upstairs eager to get started. Meera laughed. Inspiring ideas that were useful in the outdoors always worked to get Raghu rolling!

 

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