Kohima: The sounds of birds chirping welcome you as you enter the residential compound of Mazho Pavo, a 49-year-old primary school teacher, on the outskirts of Viswema village — located about 27 km from capital town Kohima in Nagaland.
When most Naga men fancied hunting, Pavo refrained from hurting them. Even as a child, he had great affection for birds and animals. Channeling his love for them, Pavo brought to life a ‘bird breeding sanctuary’ in a small forest-like area within his residential compound about five years ago.
He gave a new life to birds by building birdhouses on trees. With pride, Pavo told EastMojo that he made these man-made birdhouses to create a breeding space for his feathered friends. Although he started the initiative alone, he receives constant support from his family. He finds joy in feeding the birds by scattering rice in his courtyard and watching them feast on it.
Speaking with EastMojo, Pavo said: “God created all things [not only human beings]. So, I don’t want to hurt them, I love them very much.” Before the sanctuary, his compassion for birds compelled him to often purchase caged birds from the market, only to free them after a week or so, with the hope that the freed birds will find a safer home in the open. Currently, he has two ‘lovebirds’ in his safe haven.
About five years ago, Pavo brainstormed the idea. “Around my compound, I hear different kinds of bird chirping the whole day, almost every moment. So I thought of putting up these bamboos and making a room for them [to] stay,” he added.
Carving holes into bamboo stems, the bamboos are vertically tied on the trees, creating multiple floored rooms for small birds. In a similar method, Pavo also made birdhouses out of dried gourds and clay saving pots (which is available in the market). Currently, he has 14 bamboo birdhouses, two clay pot ones and six dried gourd birdhouses.
On safety of birds, he reaffirmed: “They are safe.”
However, he said that boys from nearby hostels would sometimes “take their catapults and hunt” around the sanctuary. But when he warned them and told them about the need to conserve birds, they were no longer seen for the wrong reasons.
As a conservationist, Pavo dreams to create a home for all birds but realises that breeding bigger birds is a bigger challenge as there are hardly any huge or tall trees in his compound.
Leaving a message, he said: “We must take care of mother earth. We should preserve all the flora and fauna around us. If we really care about these plants and creatures, we should at least make an effort to care for them.”
Pavo also has a collection of exotic plants under his care, with varieties ranging from maple trees to local strawberries, and local orchids. Surrounded by nature, Pavo credits his sound health to the peaceful and healthy environment.
Late May to June is the best time to visit the sanctuary as most birds breed at that time of the year. Pavo is delighted on how the village authorities have imposed a ban on hunting, although to a large extent it is often ignored, he added. “We must take care of mother earth. We should preserve all the flora and fauna around us,” he said.