Losing Harmony with Nature…
Have you ever seen pigeons cooling off near falling water? They are really cute. They lift their wings and lean their underside towards the water. A little away and not directly under as they hate getting their primaries wet. Or have you seen pigeon siblings slap each other really hard for space to sleep on a pipe or on the feeding ground? They lift their wings and hit the other pigeon hard. Have you watched how a mother bird guides younger pigeons away with ghuttar goos or tiny pecks on their heads? Have you seen immature birds screaming at the mother birds fighting for space in feeding bowls? I guess not, as most of us don’t want to feed pigeons – the urban pests- anymore.
Ofcourse humans domesticated them for acting as messenger birds or collecting the feathers they shed everyday or for bringing warmth to cold days. Pigeons, when they fly create breeze and bring joy. But most of us can’t appreciate them. They have become carriers of various illnesses as their life in urban areas has been degraded the most. They eat cement and grit because we dont want kabutar khanas. They drink water from chemical laced outlets. They breathe and fly in air full of urban pollutants. We forget that we made these beautiful creatures into pests. It’s sad.
Pigeons prefer heights to small trees, as heights keep them away from urban sounds. High open ledges allow them to fly off easily. There are more places to hide and seek shelter from weather and predators. They fly away from humans and only close contact with pigeons may lead to getting some illness, if they are are carriers. Don’t you think most of us would be really ill if all pigeons carried illnesses?
It had to happen. A society member suggested that I stop feeding the birds (read pigeons mainly) because they poop. Well, they will poop even if I don’t feed them.
On further enquiry, I learnt that one of the neighbours with a flat directly below mine found them noisy while feeding, which lasts less than fifteen minutes twice a day. It got me thinking hard.
I started listening to the sounds around me. There is loudspeaker namaaz five times a day heard by the entire area. God forbid, you need rest on a Friday afternoon, because some highly angry Muslim preacher speaks on current issues for two to three hours after one p.m. Then, there is some wedding venue nearby where loud music is the norm and festivals are also celebrated with gusto. There are some welding and steel workshops in the vicinity. Firecrackers often go off at a film studio nearby. Hey, I live in a noisy area. And of course, there is traffic. So, why do all these noises seem more acceptable than a little ghuttargoo from the birds. It’s a wonder that these birds hang out here at all, considering the sounds. Among others, there are crows, ravens, kites, kingfishers, drongos , bee-eaters, orioles, sparrows and robins, egrets and innumerable other small birds not to mention tabelas full of cows and buffaloes, small patches with goats and pigs. And the dogs. A stray dog howling was chased out with a stick as it was noisy.
Since when have sounds of animal and bird life become so alien that they disturb our peace?
Why is a little poop dirty and gutters full of chemicals acceptable? Why are Frooti packs and plastic bags ok to throw on the ground but bird seed or poop lying on the ground a bit unacceptable? In spite of living close to a forested area, we as humans are not able to live in harmony with nature.
I felt sad as I found about this issue. I don’t think that arguing passionately about my cause is going to sensitize them to nature. And preaching most definitely won’t. We need to conduct more nature sensitivity workshops in urban areas instead of taking people to forests and camp there or go for long nature trails and conduct slide shows. A creative way will have to be found to solve this problem.