Birds, fishes and butterflies: Meet the eco-managers of West Bengal’s paddy fields

It is sowing season for the paddy farmers of West Bengal, and Bablu Burman – a farmer from Bhattadighi village in the district of Uttar Dinajpur – is preoccupied. Burman is using pieces of wood to build nesting boxes for birds that he will hang in his fields.

“They will provide shelter to feathered guests such as mynahs, barn owls and sparrows this cropping season [that will] feed on the paddy pests,” he said. Each box is about four feet in height and two feet wide. An extended sloping roof keeps the rain away and there are perches inside for birds to rest on or even roost.