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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

act of kindness ~ story of 'Duggu' the mynah

Tarun is a smart boy, just into his 5th standard – his act of kindness is all this post is about !  - ‘Duggu’ – the mynah !!

It is unlikely that the lockdown  resulted in more abundant birds.  Birds are still as they are – no significant change in their behaviour.  But the attitude of mankind perhaps has been shaken and changed.  Remaining at home, now people have more time to observe lot of things which they missed in the monotonous routine.  Now we see animals, small insects, birds, bolder, louder, more present in our yards and parks, the birdsong just more audible because there’s less ambient roar from cars, overhead aeroplanes, lesser noise from  construction?

Away from the concrete jungles of madness, the spring, the dawn chorus sounds different. In the dark hours before sunrise, little birds  whistles, chips, hoots, and trills with deafening birdsongs.  We know and can identify Vultures, Crows, Pigeons, Parrots, Mynahs, Woodpeckers, Kingfishers, Cranes and the like -  boisterous and energetic than in past years, all singing raucously at the same time, like a poetry slam where everyone’s reading at once. Birds fly, fish swim – the  age at which birds fledge, or begin to fly, varies widely from species to species. Without knowing species, it is impossible to say how long it will take a bird to fly after hatching. Within species, the capability generally develops within a short window common to all young.  

Nearer home the Judges of Adilabad district have displayed immense kindness and compassion towards the suffering birds during the current summer.  While planting saplings as part of observing world environment day, they also displayed their concern for the fellow living beings on Friday. In tune with the idea of their principal district judge M G Priyadarshini, they got prepared several customised water containers that also have provision to carry food grains too and hung them on various trees in the premises of Adilabad courts complex.

In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the common myna in his Ornithologie based on a specimen that he mistakenly believed had been collected in the Philippines. He used the French name Le merle des Philippines and the Latin Merula Philippensis.  Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binominal system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.  When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth edition, he added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson.  One of these was the common myna.

The myna  is a bird of the starling family (Sturnidae). This is a group of passerine birds which are native to southern Asia, especially India, Pakistan & Bangladesh. They have been introduced into many countries and in Australia,  the common myna which is  regarded as an invasive species.   An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments. The range of the common myna is increasing at such a rapid rate that in 2000 the IUCN Species Survival Commission declared it one of the world's most invasive species.

Common mynas are believed to pair for life. They breed through much of the year depending on the location, building their nest in a hole in a tree or wall. They breed from sea-level to 3000 m in the Himalayas. 

An year or so ago, a mynah bird appeared in the business class section of a Singapore Airlines flight after 12 hours of take-off. The airlines confirmed  that the bird was eventually captured on the January 7 flight, USA Today reported. "It was subsequently caught by cabin crew with the assistance of some of the passengers on board," USA Today quoted spokesperson as saying. The mynah was turned over to "animal quarantine" authorities at London's Heathrow Airport.

This evening, on the terrace of apartment Vasavi Parthas in Venkatrangam Street, it was observed by Tarun that a mynah was in bad position hanging in a branch of a tree with legs and body entangled in probably kite string. Perhaps it had been in that position for some hours and looked pale and emaciated. Tarun alongwith his father grabbed the bird, had the threads removed slowly.  The bird was shivering and was not in a position to fly. The boy was so passionate in saving it, named it ‘Duggu’ – kept talking to it, fed it water, cleaned it, gave some food grains.  Thoughtfully he ran back to home to fetch his pet project house – made of cardboard, kept the trembling bird inside and stood guard for more than an hour protecting it from the predatory birds.

The warmth and kindness could have been felt more in observing him in close quarters and hope the bird recovers and flies back to its nest !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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