Saturday, 29 November 2014

Birds “committing suicide''.Jatinga, Assam, India.- Strange place 01


Jatinga, Assam,India, Birds committing suicide. www. sify.com
Have you ever heard of bird committing suicide, that too, in a particular place in Assam? Is it not a strange and sad sight of countless birds ending their lives? What is the mystery behind it? India is home to countless places where strange things do happen and the mystery behind them  either remain unsolved or is being studied  to get to the bottom. Jatinga  is a village on a ridge, located  in  Dima Hasao District (330 km south of Guwahati ), Assam State in NE India. This place is  nestled amongst the luscious Borail Hills and is famous for the phenomenon of birds “committing suicide.” 
Jatinga, Assam, India  Birds committing suicide.www.assaminfo.com
Every monsoon, this scenic village witnesses an uncanny, but heart-wrenching  phenomenon that may baffle our imagination. Between September and October,  especially during dark and foggy nights, hundreds  of  several indigenous as well as migratory birds fly at full speed towards trees and buildings, crashing to death. This 'mass bird suicide' was first brought to global attention by famous naturalist E.P. Gee in the 1960s. Technically, though the birds do not commit suicide but are,  unfortunately,  killed; however, the phenomenon of suicide has spread  far  and  wide among common people. 

The best  known ornithologist Anwaruddin Choudhury, who studied this area and the bird's behavior concluded that the birds, mostly juveniles and local migrants,  are disturbed by high velocity winds at their roost.  The presence of fog, mist and flooding in the water bodies  cause disorientation among birds  and fly in those areas where they see light. When the disturbed birds fly towards lights in the houses, etc  as refuge, they are hit with bamboo poles and killed or injured by the local people. According to The Statesman, the birds are attracted to the villagers' torches and then killed upon landing. This peculiar phenomenon takes place 
over  a 1.5 km stretch of land in this village. The nefarious activities of killing the birds are declining now on account of local government's interference and protests from conservationists. Black Bitterns, Kingfishers, Tiger Bitterns  and Pond Herons, are  some of the common species of birds that come here during this season to take part in this unusual activity.
Mass Bird Suicide - Jatinga, Assaminyminy.com
 
The following are  the moot questions that remain unanswered: 

01. Why do the birds fly at night instead of day, though they get back to the nest soon after sun down?

02. Why does this suicidal phenomenon regularly occur among the birds in a limited area of Jatinga in one part of Assam?

03. Every year during this particular season, the birds visit this place where the danger exists. Why do the birds choose this place? When they see the danger ahead of them while flying towards the lights, they can avoid them and the people by changing direction. This does not happen. Why?
  
Ref:

"Jatinga Bird Mystery". District Government of Region of North Cachar Hills. Retrieved July 9, 2007.


Choudhury, A. U. (1986). Bird killing at Jatinga. The Sentinel 7 September.