|Nguyễn Văn Chương feeds the pigeons. — Photo vietnamnet.vn|
CẦN THƠ — At 5am every day, Nguyễn Văn Chương, 61, leaves his hostel and walks to Hòa Bình in Ninh Kiều District, Cần Thơ City’s centre. He sweeps the sidewalk and then takes out a plastic chair to sit on and sprinkles rice and bird feed to lure hundreds of pigeons and sparrows swooping down to eat.
For the past 10 years, each month Chương, an ornamental plant vendor, has spent VNĐ3 million to raise more than 500 wild birds.
Many birds are familiar with Chương. He touches their heads and then lifts a few birds to check their health.
Chương was born in Cái Răng District, Cần Thơ City, and has no wife and children. Twenty years ago, he moved to a cheap-price room in Ninh Kiều District, making a living by selling cakes and ornamental plants on the street.
Ten years ago while selling cakes in Hòa Bình-Ngô Hữu Hạnh St., he cut the cake into small pieces to feed the sparrows. Day by day, more and more sparrows came to eat, and pigeons also joined.
Every morning, Chương also sprinkles bird food as well as cake.
At that time, VNĐ650,000 to buy bird food was a lot of money for a street vendor like me. However, I still decided to do it.
The flock of birds regularly come for feeding twice a day (morning and afternoon). The area has more than 550 birds, including about 400 pigeons and 150 sparrows.
He spends VNĐ3 million every month to feed the birds.
“Usually, the largest number of birds comes to eat in the morning. It takes me about 20 minutes with 1.5-2 kg of feed, including rice.”
During the pandemic in 2021, many people supported him with rice so that he could take care of the birds.
A local man said when Chương was hospitalised for treatment of COVID, he did not forget to remind neighbours to feed the birds.
Chương said he is very worried about bird poaching and repeatedly chased bird hunters away.
Duy Tân, a citizen in Cần Thơ City, said: “Chương is really kind and loves birds and to be able to take care of them like this.”
An official of Ninh Kiều District authorities said that Chương’s work was humane and beautiful. Hundreds of pigeons and sparrows are taken care of in the city’s heart forming a beautiful image of Cần Thơ, he said.
Local authorities also ensure traffic order and safety on the bird feeding grounds and work to prevent poaching. — VNS