Impact of Makar Sankranti on Birds, And How to Protect them from Getting Injured
Makar sankranti is here. It’s that time of year when we exchange sweets and fill the sky with colourful kites. Nevertheless, this time let’s ensure to preserve the natural beauty of the sky with free flying birds. Let’s not slit, bruise and hurt them with sharp strings.More
The euphoria of Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti, is a delightful Indian festival celebrated on 14th January every year. Although the way this festival of harvest is celebrated throughout different parts of India is distinct, it truly gets people together in heart and spirit across the nation. The name of this festival and the way it is celebrated may be different for different states. Some call it Lohri, some Poush Sankranti while some may call it Magh Bihu. Makar Sankranti is a widely accepted name and one way of celebrating it is by flying hand-made kites on terraces, the water tank heads and the local grounds and gardens.
In some places, the tradition of flying colourful kites and engaging in competitions goes on for a couple of months while in some states just this day is marked by colourful kites in the sky. These kites are flown using threads, commonly known as manja. Because of the rise in the demand of these threads in the recent years a new variety of thread made with nylon has been introduced. These nylon threads are often coated with glass fibre, making them exceptionally sharp, for the ease of winning the kite flying competition with the opponent.
However, in turn, these sharp nylon-glass manjas end up involuntarily injuring birds in the air. These unfortunate accidents when the kite-thread comes in contact with the birds cause them to even die. Some birds end up in injuries to their wings and legs while some even slit their bodies.
Birds of this season
Do we know that this time of the year, winters, is also when different species of birds from various colder regions and even some parts of Europe migrate to India. Amongst these are Pariah kites, parakeets, pigeons, owls, and some other beautiful species of birds.
All they want to do is find a warmer climate, food source and breeding ground. Several areas in India are their favourites. The Great Rann of Kutch in Gujrat known for its sparse and harsh landscape is a chosen destination ‘home’ to a variety of migratory birds that fly in.
The foremost thing for us to reflect up on is, do we want to be the reason behind the cause of this environmental damage? The ever increasing number of bird accidents during this happy festival can even label this season to be a man-made disaster. Many activists start working a few month in advance from Makar Sankranti, educating people and children about the disasters done to the environment and how they can be curbed.
Here are 5 things you can do to ensure the safety of birds surrounding you-
1. Avoid flying kites when the birds are up and active!
Birds are believed to generally leave their nests early in the mornings and start to return back during early evenings. People are encouraged to fly kites at the hours when they know that the birds will not be in the kite-flying range. Anytime between 10 am to 3:30 pm can be considered as safe.
2. Choose open grounds
Even though open grounds cannot be considered the safest, it is still believed that flying kites around the trees where birds have nests, may sit and relax or move from one tree to another, can be an increased threat. Hence, avoid gardens, parks or localities full of greenery and higher number of active birds.
3. First aid and help of animal welfare group
It is advised to immediately connect with your local animal welfare group or any bird activist you came in contact with recently, in case you find an entangled bird. Some studies say that the injured birds should not be applied turmeric, contrary to what most of us would do. As first aid, one may clean the wound gently with topical solutions and hold the bird in a clean piece of cotton cloth and try to withhold the flowing blood. It must be ensured that the solution doesn’t come in contact with eyes and mouth of the bird.
4. Restrict using glass coated kite strings
Avoid using the sharp manjas and use the ones that are safer and wouldn’t pose as great a threat for the free flying souls. The Chinese kite strings are glass coasted and are widely used now. We must restrict ourselves from using these and instead use the ones crafted of cotton. These cotton manjas have been formerly used too and are safe for the birds and overall environment.
5. Keep the fire brigade help line handy
In case you come across a bird that is hurt or injured and is helplessly dangling from a tree or a height, buck up and inform the fire brigade immediately. The fire brigade officials are experts in rescuing birds who may be at a greater height and at a risk of losing their lives.
Tell us more about how are you playing a conscious citizen this Makar Sankrant and doing your bit in protecting these beautiful souls meant to fly free in the sky.Disclaimer: The details contained in this article are for informational purposes only and are unbiased toward the celebration of any Indian festivals or religious beliefs or values. The ideas presented here are in the best interest of encouraging people to take personal responsibility for conserving the environment.