KANNUR: The gates of Sreemandiram at Pallikunnu near Kannur hardly stay shut these days. The house has been witnessing a stream of visitors ever since the 2000 square feet aviary started by the owner, K V Sreejith, went viral on social media. The 'Aryan Aviary' named after Sreejith's son houses 250 birds of 35 varieties. On days when he does not have to attend online classes, the seven-year-old joins his father to explain to the guests about the different bird varieties.
"I always wanted to own a big collection of birds ever since I was six, though it was not possible then. These days, it has become easier to own such a big collection since information and its availability are accessible on the phone," said Sreejith, who works as a business consultant. "When I realized that Aryan also shared the same passion, I thought of setting up a huge cage and a garden with several bird varieties just for him. As the collection grew, it was converted into an aviary," he said. He admits that he constructed the aviary on his own without any help from the internet.
At least 50-60 people turn up at the house every day to see the birds. The aviary is dotted by a fish pond, a fountain, and a vertical garden.
"Since a large number of bird varieties are housed together, they are susceptible to contagious diseases. It is important to maintain hygiene at all times," said Sreejith.
Apart from the African grey parrots, there are other varieties like the Sun Conure, Bull Finch, Gouldian Finch, Crimson. Sreejith has employed two persons to clean the aviary and feed the birds at fixed times. "In the mornings, Aryan also joins them in feeding the birds," he said.
The most expensive bird in the aviary is the African Grey Parrot that was bought for Rs 1.5 lakh.
Sreejith, who lived in South Africa for 18 years, returned to India for his tongue cancer treatment in 2019. He now plans to expand the aviary with the help of the breeding station that he has set up opposite his plot. "I hope to generate employment through this initiative. The revenue collected from selling the young ones of the bred birds will be spent on charitable activities, especially for educating children from poor families," said Sreejith, who is also the chairman of Karunya Charitable Trust, Pallikkunnu.
His wife Priya also is an enthusiastic bird-lover and assists in maintaining the aviary. Aryan, is a student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Kannur.