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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pigeons dying of pesticide poisoning

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Pigeons have been living in a  School in Jharkhand since last 60 years. I have been seeing them there since very very long . Whenever I passed through that area or stood in that area during holiday hours, I keenly observed activities of these birds. A particular religious community, constituted by religious people of the  area has been supplying sacs of pigeon-grains Sorghum, Maize etc on periodic basis since the time this school was established. Pigeons lived well protected lives for a long time but a number of them have recently been observed dying here and there in the school area. It has been found that the birds are dying of pesticide poisoning laced on the grains supplied to them or of the pesticide poisoning when they visit crop fields during long day hours and eat grains sown in those fields. For bird lovers it is a painful period, for unconcerned it is not an incident worth taking care of. 

Pigeons have been spending days and nights in the school since the long feeding programme for them was started. A number of people residing in the city area visit the school every morning. They come with soaked grains in bags with them and go on the top by an arrangement made for opening the stare gate with the school principal. Many times and many pigeons during those times have been rescued from some of the coolies carrying grains on their man-carriages to keep on the top for pigeons. It is sad to note that while many people rescue, feed, care and love birds, there are some who try to kill and eat them. For such people, nothing is un-eatable in the world.

The principal of the school once spotted a beautiful white pigeon picking up food left overs in the veranda. Since, the rice cooked in the mid day meal programme in that school remains of very poor quality, many children do not eat it and drop it on the floor.The principal liked the pigeon and picked it up cleaverly. She took it to her table and placed it on it.Then she caught it in hands showing  love with the pretty bird.When the school closed she brought it out and put on floor in the veranda, the bird had gone very inactive and did not move anywhere. She left the school for home. The next day when the school opened, the poor pigeon was found dead.It was very strange. Some people who saw the dead pigeon blamed the principal for its death.The principal is reported to be very cruel.A number of teachers of the school have gone sick of hyper tension or heart problem due to her frequent cruel behavior with them.Some say that she is an evil spirit.She is reported of doing inhuman behaviour with her group D staff too.In view of this, some persons guessed that she might had pressed the pigeon with her hand being jealous of its beauty. And this might had been the region behind the bird's death. What was reality, only God can know. But the reality was - the pretty pigeon died. Here are images of the bird's dead body.

The recent study on the dying birds of the school reveal that these have been becoming victims of pesticides laced on the grains and seeds. In the every mid noon hour most of the pigeons fly away to sub-urban areas and land on crop fields. It is important to note that the areas around the city are vegetable growers’ areas. Farmers living in these areas grow and sell vegetables round the year. As the trend prevails, seeds of corn, serial and vegetable and even of horticultural plants are being supplied by seed companies after proper treatment with synthetic chemical pesticides. These seeds are largely eaten up by birds who visit these fields in search of seeds sown here. The pesticides laced on these seeds enter into their bodies and get accumulated gradually in their tissue. After a considerable degree of bio-magnification in the bodies of innocent pigeons, these pesticides kill them at any moment of their lives. If a number of birds are seen dying in the school area itself, there may be more who meet the death while in air or in fields.

Image 1

Image 2

Birds are most important links of the chain of ecosystem and local ecology. Since they fly in a vast area, they affect the entire area and its ecosystems. Hence, any loss to birds is sure to cause irreparable damage to the ecosystems of any particular area. Since these birds add beauty to the habitat and promote aesthetic sense, these must be cared and protected by all. The community supplying grains for pigeons should ensure that the grains supplied are not laced with pesticides. Grains are subjected or treated by deadly poisons during the hours of their storage so as to avoid losses. Hence, when supplied for birds, these must be detoxified by washing in plenty of water and drying in the air. Only supply of grains as they remain available in the market is not enough. Rather, it is harmful to both directions. And yes, harmful to the aesthetic sense as well which is the root of ecological conservation and restoration in the today’s world.

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