Blinding pollution, destruction of trees, unbridled use of plastic and poisoning the water body, using glass-coated strings for kite and loud noise from construction areas and vehicles, are driving birds away from CityNihar Parulekar email@example.com
Millions of kites take to the sky during Makar Sankranti. An innocent and joyful celebration has however turned deadly for birds in Hyderabad. And, more tragic is, children are flying kites not for a religious reason but simply for fun without realising the consequences.
But very few know that the treated thread used these days is a killer for winged friends. The razor-sharp Chinese thread or glass coated strings cut the wings and throats of the unwary birds. And this happens by the hundreds every year.
According to census, out of the 1,000 injured and rescued birds only a few hundred make it back to the wild after treatment. A lot of maimed birds remain at the care centres for the rest of their lives while most of them die due to the throat-injuries or trauma due to pain. “Many of these birds are migratory birds that are on the brink of extinction due to the kite festival. The worst affected are the ones that are not rescued and remain tied in the thread and continue swinging on trees for days without feed or water till they drop dead,” says a bird watchers society report of last year.
Birds, say ornithologists, are excellent natural indicators of the health of many ecosystems. They are the literal canary in the coalmine — when birds disappear from an area, it normally signals the deteriorating health of the entire ecosystem.
The only way to avoid these fatal injuries to birds is by organising an annual kite flying festival at one spot rather than allowing it in every lane. People should be advised not to fly kites early in the morning and or late evenings when the birds are more active. People can use the normal thread instead of the razor sharp and glass coated ones as the life of the birds are more precious than losing a small penny on a kite! The tragedy befalling birds is the direct result of crass ignorance about our ecosystem. Schools and GHMC should realise the importance of educating children about this.
Nihar is founder of ARPF, Hyderabad