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The Financial Express

Birds: The envoys of peace


Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
Birds: The envoys of peace

Like in every year, migratory birds have started flying in to Bangladesh. The mainland swamps, 'chars' (shoals) and other areas normally visited by them have begun being filled with these birds. Vast swathes of the land wear a different look with the warbling and lively presence of these guest-birds from December to March every year. The current year is no exception. Normally, the said spots stand out with crowds of bird watchers and the stealthily moving bird hunters. As the guest-birds this year are arriving in the fraught time of a near-disastrous global pandemic, they are expected to remain undisturbed. With the birds coming from the Himalayas, and vast areas of northern Europe --- exhausted and hungry, this year they will most likely beleft alone. Few are expected to come out to watch and disturb them in the city suburbs. With a strict ban on migratory bird-hunting in force, the poaching communities' turnout might also remain lower than feared this year.

Ornithologists have already forecast about the increased number of the birds' arrival this year. A section of bird watchers attribute the increase in the number of migratory birds' arrival to the work of a certain stimuli inherent in them. The bird experts believe in the theory of the migratory birds' ability to sense the hazards in advance --- which they might encounter during their inter-continental flights. Apart from the northern Europe, lots of bird species arrive in the warmer tropics to escape the savage winter in many other parts of the earth. Like they can comprehend danger or adversities on their navigational paths, the birds can also smell their hazard-free flights, and safe stays in their final destinations. Basing on this theory related to the birds' behaviour, zoologists have predicted greater number of the birds' arrival in the country this winter.

A few of them have even cited the reasons being the birds' advance knowledge about the drastic fall in the incidence of disturbances and cruelties caused to them by humans. During the raging of Covid-19, an unexpected change in these birds' behavioural pattern is most likely. The crux of the matter is people in the pandemic-afflicted warm countries have noticeably stopped coming out with the approach of winter. Bangladesh is no exception. Moreover, the warning of a second wave of the pandemic during this winter may prompt many otherwise habitual birdwatchers to refrain from crowding around the birds' temporary habitats. Apart from the hunting ban getting stricter by the year, lots of poachersmay also avoid encroaching on the birds' territories. This damper might originate in their fear of contracting corona virus. Normally in many cases, amateur hunters assemble in crowded missions to kill birds, and celebrate their 'heroic feats' in raucous feast-cum-revelry.

Migratory birds and land-based animals have potent lessons for man. From the point of view of global climate, they have long been contributing to the maintenance of the world's ecological balance. By interacting with man, insects and the plant life, and between themselves, birds, especially the migratory ones, keep the vast human ecology integrated. Apart from this area, humans may find lots of features worth deriving from them. Ironically, few have the interest or patience to watch the migratory birds or wildlife --- which once roamed continents in large groups. Few of the human species have noticed the rare qualities the birds possess innately.

The most striking of the features that distinguish the migratory birds is their discipline. It can be noticed during their temporary migration that often covers thousands of miles. These wonderful creatures are used to flying almost nonstop under a small team of leaders. They are seen flying ahead of the main group, and guiding it to its specific destinations. During the birds' flights, there are no misunderstandings or hostilities between them. The leadership's style of navigation is final. The birds have to follow the two or three leaders without protest.

A stunning aspect of this massive undertaking is there are no murmurs of disobedience or dissent among the birds that constitute the journeys. It is the unalloyed respect for orderliness which has been characterising the flights of the migratory birds since prehistoric times. With humans engaged in such a long-distance migration, distressing seeds of unrest could be seen in the very initial days. Some vital areas of discontent normally found in such ventures would thus include formation of splinter groups, cabalistic activities to weaken or oust the leaders. Thus many an ambitious expedition has ended in bloodied chaos due to infightings, conspiracies and open rebellion. These anarchic situations have made lots of human endeavours end in complete fiascos.

The animal kingdom, especially the birds, shows humans a unique reality. It shows animals are unknown to conspiracy or conspiratorial assault on others within the same species. It is the uncontrollable instincts or the raw impulse that lead them to attack others. Sometimes, fear of being ousted from their native areas or that of being attacked by other animals to snatch their foods prompt them to involve in hostilities. This propensity to remain safe and secure within their own confines is, however, a characteristic found in both wild animals and humans.

The difference is man's graduation into a civilised species by way of different tools of enlightenment has made them a magnificent creation. Yeton occasions such as wars, ethnic and other hostilities, the animal-self in their subconscious overpowers humans. In comparison, the migratory birds stand out with their distinctive and inimitable features. Humans have a lot to learn from birds. Meanwhile, man's mindless treatment of birds, trees and other age-old emblems of peace and beauty continue to invite calamities. Prominent of them, for now, is climate change.

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