OUR “FEATHERED FRIENDS” - On the verge of extinction

Ritsika By Ritsika, 8th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Fauna, be it animal or birds not only contributes towards maintaining a balance in ecosystem but also sometimes strike an emotional chord, by their habits or appearance. We should endeavor to bring about a change in our lifestyle, if these species are to be saved from being extinct

SPARROW- The chunky little bird

“ His first impulse was to wreck the nest with one stroke of his pole, but something within him made him desist”
These are the lines from “ Sparrows” a short story woven around a “hard- hearted” lonely man who is feared and shunned by everyone including his family. He remained a detestable figure till he sighted a house sparrow family in the thatched roof of his hut. He develops tenderness as he feeds and watches the sparrows with delight. The heroic effort of the sparrow to save its nest stirs his hard heart as realization dawns about the pain he has caused to all. He dies trying to save the sparrows from a heavy downpour.
This is a short story by K.A Abbas, the versatile Indian writer, journalist and film director. How craftfully the story has bought out the need of “feathered chirpy friends” to bought back sanity, compassion and love in life! It is ultimately the nature’s tiny creation who effortlessly brought about a transformation that seemed difficult by fellow human beings.
These noisy tiny birds evoke a pleasant memory of childhood days gone by, as I remember watching them with amusement. It’s really relaxing to witness their constant fluttering in and out bringing in materials to build the nest in the skylight space or coming in with a beakful of food and feeding the fledglings. Not all of us are fortunate enough to be in the lap of nature to feast our eyes on the antics of birds or to undertake journeys into the wilderness to satiate our interest of bird watching. So, here these species of affable birds known for close association with human habitation provide an alternative.
It’s really pathetic that in contrast to the protagonist of “Sparrows “who dies while trying to save the sparrows family , in real life it is us , the human - most sensible of all living creatures- are responsible for the dwindling sparrow population. Ornithologists attribute this to change in ecological and environment changes.
Usually, sparrows prefer to nest in houses with a secluded space above the reach of human inhabitants. But increase in high-rise apartments, absence of food grains, proliferation of mobile towers that emit electromagnetic radiation, are some of the reasons attributed to the now rare “biological indicator species” as these once ubiquitous creatures are referred to. Declaring these tiny birds as “state birds” and observing 20th March as World House Sparrows day should synchronize with concerted efforts amongst the concerned departments of the Government as well as by public and an awareness campaign is certainly a first step in this direction.

BIRDS- A source of inspiration too

Apart from the fact that even the tiny of tiniest living animal and birds form an inseparable part of ecosystem and an extinction of any of these will endanger the entire ecosystem, these mute creatures also have also been sources of inspiration. For e.g. Wright brothers got ideas about aeroplanes from birds. They also motivate us stick to some virtues, like loyalty, to take pleasure in our work, or to continue working hard. For instance weaver bird or popularly known as Baya, another bird on the way to extinction. These birds derive extreme pleasure in nest construction as in between building nests it bursts into a song. All creative work ensued will a joyous state of mind produces masterpieces as the activities of these birds show.

BAYA- Nature’s artistic weaver

It is a pleasure to marvel at the exquisitely carved nest of “Tailor bird”, or Baya bird. It is makes its nest on tall trees like palm and date. This bird is also known as “tailor bird”. But these nests are rarely sighted nowadays. Man’s need for shelter and cultivation has resulted in cutting down of many a palm tree. Baya is the friend of farmer. Its eats the harmful insects from the crop field thereby contributing towards preservation of crops.
Last year at a local fair, I caught sight of this artistic abode. But I learnt the architectural wonder was not one made by this bird but a man made artificial one. Some people are making a living out of this considering the rapid disappearance of these bird species. I remember having had the luck of possessing a natural nest when I was a kid. Such nests were prevalent then.

VULTURE: An important specie in animal disposal system

Similar is the fate of Vultures, popularly referred to “Nature’s scavengers”. Now these birds is rarely seen and reports say it’s almost on the verge of extinction. Its numbers are dwindling since 1990s. Dogs, rats and other animals feeding on dead bodies have replaced these birds. But unlike vultures which have a metabolism for true “dead –end” for deadly pathogens, the new scavengers are carriers of these pathogens and thus are further adding to health problems. Ironically the once commonly seen “Vultures “ has to be saved through breeding programmers like for example under construction Vulture breeding centre in Nadankanan, Zoological Park in Odisha.
The decline in the number in some species of vulture is attributed to reasons like unavailability of tall trees for nesting purposes and Diplofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug administrated to livestock. This drug is fatal to vultures.

Belated Awakening !

The nation’s biological diversity has great economic, aesthetic, and spiritual value.” -- Ecological Society of America. Biological diversity implies sustenance of variety of species in local region and each contributing to the vibrancy of the web of life or ecosystem in a harmony with human activity that have an effect on landscape and other natural resources.
But being too busy to fend, and make easy things for our self, we are in no mood to balance the situation. Only urgency awakens us from slumber, and we take up all effort to bring back situation under control. Hope, our awakening –belated though it is -does not go in vain otherwise the now sighted birds would only end up in museums to be shown to our posterity

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
8th Apr 2013 (#)

Sad but real story of our thoughtless actions. Gandhi said a measure of our civilization is how we treat our less fortunate fellow travelers. They are in our trust but we sometimes behave like - casting pearls before swine! siva

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author avatar Ritsika
9th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you for the valuable comment..

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author avatar Retired
8th Apr 2013 (#)

this was really very interesting article

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author avatar Ritsika
9th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank You...

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
9th Apr 2013 (#)

Great work my friend..

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author avatar Ritsika
9th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank You...

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author avatar madugundurukmini
10th Apr 2013 (#)

love birds

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
22nd Jul 2013 (#)

as Md says a great write coming from your heart which makes it so very special....thank you

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