85-year-old woman buys freedom for birds
  • | VietNamNet | June 11, 2011 04:43 AM

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kinh, 85, always gets up very early to work, to earn money to breed sparrows which perch daily on trees in Hanoi’s Quan Su Street. She also buys snared birds to let them free.

Mrs. Kinh lives in a 10-sq.m house at No. 70, Quan Su Street with her youngest child. The house doesn’t have valuable assets, but a big jar of unhusked rice.

Mrs. Kinh has six children. Two sons sacrificed in the war. Three daughters are living overseas. She lives with her youngest son.

At the age of 85, Mrs. Kinh still travels to many provinces like Nam Dinh, Thai Binh in the north, Nghe An and Ha Tinh in the central region, to buy snared sparrows, take care of them and then release.

In the past, when the price for sparrows is VND5,000-7,000 (USD241-USD338)/head, Mrs. Kinh bought 200-300 sparrows per quarter to set free. At present, the price is VND12,000-15,000 (USD579-USD724)/sparrow, so she can afford to buy 50-100 birds/quarter.

In addition, she buys around 30kg of unhusked paddy per month as food for the sparrows, which often perch on trees in Quan Su street. She feeds the birds three times a day: 7am, 11am and 5pm.

Local residents are very familiar with the scene of hundreds of birds gathering in front of Mrs. Kinh’s house to eat.

“They sometimes perch on Mrs. Kinh’s shoulders,” said a neighbor. “Birdsongs make our street more jubilant. Mrs. Kinh’s deeds make us to further love the nature,” she said.

“I began taking care of wild birds several decades ago. At that time, my life was very hard but I felt peaceful whenever I heard birdsongs,” Mrs. Kinh recalled.

She said she brought the first sparrow home to take care of in 1973. “At that time, bird hunting is not so cruel like present. The modern life has narrowed the space for birds, so I thought of feeding them to entice them to live on old trees in my street and in Quan Su pagoda,” she said.

After decades of feeding birds, Mrs. Kinh has “enticed” thousands of birds to the trees around her house.

After each storm, the woman often walked around trees to collect eggs or baby birds which fell from their nets to hatch and take care. She often places baby birds in front of her home for mother birds to take them up to their nets.

The old woman’s deeds have made an influence on many locals. They also collect eggs and baby birds and give them to Mrs. Kinh.