Since more than a decade now, this pair have been saving birds of prey on their rooftop-turned-shelter in Chawri Bazaar, old Delhi. Meet NadeemShehzad (36) and Mohammad Saud (32) who run a 24-hour bird rescue organisation that provides med¬ical treatment and shelter to predatory birds. The brothers started the ser¬vice in 2003, when they found an injured black kite and took it to the Jain Bird Hospital in Cha¬n¬dniChowk. But since the bird hos¬¬pital was in a tem-ple, they refused to treat injured carnivor¬ous birds. So the brothers had the vet pay the bird home visits, and finally released it after it fully recovered.
They were much amazed on “receiving the Sparrow Award since they work on Sparrow Hawks who eats Sparrows,” they joke. Their journey begin out of a need for veterinary care for birds of prey and watching them die on the streets, uncared for. It has been more than a decade, but still, 95% of their efforts go out of their pockets.
Since that lone kite, they have sheltered, treated and look¬ed after about 2,337 raptor birds such as owls, eagles, kites, hawks and the occasional endangered vulture. Even without any formal training, they have learned to fix bones using steel wires, stitch wounds using absorbable thread, perform com¬plicated surgeries and even prescribe medicines simply by observing veterinarians over the years.
Funds are major concern for the brothers as their business is dying and professional lives are coming to an end because of their involvement with conservation. With their experience, they feel that “veterinarians do not have required knowledge on birds, so we did not have anyone to go and look for help. So it was no one except us who can perform surgeries to the wounded bird or watch it die. This made us an expert surgeons in avian orthopedic surgery.”
Interestingly, without being veterinarians professionally, they have managed to learn to treat the birds through books and consulting doctors. They run family business of making metallic soap dispensers and fountain nozzles and manage funds from this. Today, many wildlife organizations call them for help every day! They can operate on the birds, stitch their wounds and heal them. With almost no monetary support, their motorcycle operates as an ambulance and the rooftop of their home as their 'little hospital'. They have already registered for a bird rescue organization, “Wildlife Rescue” and have launched 24X7 bird rescue helplines.
Although, their work has been covered by national and international media, Wipro-NFS Sparrow Award is their first award. Raising money is a major hurdle in their efforts and for them, the need of the hour is to make their organization self-sustaining so it keeps on functioning without their help.They believe that with no facility for birds of prey, it is their moral responsibility to do something for these birds.