A splash of colour cheers Christmas for Mohammad

MOHAMMAD sits quietly in Stirling Gardens near council house, scattering oats to a small crowd of pigeons before scooping one up and attaching a ring of colourful plastic to its leg.

It’s to celebrate Christmas, says the Afghani refugee.

The former construction worker moved to Perth 13 years ago, a peak time in the Afghanistan war, and is now a full-time carer for his sick son.

For the last three years he has spent his free time with Perth’s pigeons.

• Perth’s bird man is tagging pigeons with bits of colourful plastic.

• Perth’s bird man is tagging pigeons with bits of colourful plastic.

Earlier this week, Mohammad began deftly catching the pigeons and attaching the hand-crafted rings of red, green and white plastic. They continue clucking around his feet and don’t seem to mind the intrusion.

Mohammad says he inherited his love of birds from his father, who used to feed more than 500 pigeons from the top floor of an apartment building in Afghanistan.

“I have no family, these are my family,” Mohammad says sadly.

“Every day I come here about 4 o’clock and bring food like this.

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“I love everything, especially for bird … some people saying ‘human is very good’, but the animals is not killing people.

“I want to put all this colour on the leg for Christmas,” Mohammad chuckles.

Mohammad says bird numbers are declining; while he used to feed a crowd of about 70 pigeons, fewer than 20 come to visit him but he doesn’t know what’s happening to them.

by TRILOKESH CHANMUGAM

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