Lodhi Garden in the heart of the capital became host to an unexpected but cute visitor on Wednesday. The sylvan surroundings played an important role in ‘Operation Karail’.
The special guest was an adult barn owl, rescued from a neighbouring colony and brought to the Lodhi Garden in the afternoon.
After ensuring that the bird was fit, it was released into the thick foliage area of the sprawling greens maintained by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
Barn Owl or Screech Owl (locally called Karail or Kuraya), is long-winged, long legged owl., with a heart-shaped face.
This particular nocturnal bird was a brown one, with a clear heart-shaped face with sparkling eyes.
NDMC Director (Horticulture) Subhash Chandra said, “The bird is a good addition to the already rich avian diversity in the Lodhi Garden.” Earlier in the morning, a guard (name withheld on request) spotted the bird in a drowsy condition, rescued it and got in touch with Green Circle, an NGO.
Green Circle’s Suhas Borker, who brought it to Lodhi Garden, was all praise for the guard.
“In today’s hostile urban environs, we should appreciate that here is a human being so compassionate towards a bird.”
In the evening, the owl was taken to Dr Prabhakaran P, a veterinarian associated with Friendicoes SECA (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals), who said, “I did not notice any abnormality in the bird. Just that the cold had made it a little sluggish.”
After the vet’s clearance, the bird was taken back to Lodhi Garden. “We released it at about 7 pm in an area with thick foliage. Thus ended our ‘Operation Karail’,” Borker added.
The Lodhi Garden is home to more than 30 bird species and a virtual treat for regular visitors and bird-lovers. However, Chandra had a word of caution for visitors to the garden. “People should not feed the birds as it attracts crows and pigeons. They drive out the other birds,” said Chandra.