By: BAPPY KHAN
We experience an immediate sense of joy when someone visits us at our home. According to some individuals, the presence of a guest is considered to symbolise good fortune. As a result, our primary goal is to deliver exceptional service to our guests. We have an abundant capacity for hospitality. However, regrettably, the situation is different for guest birds. A large group of birds, having travelled thousands of kilometres in search of food during the winter, arrive in our country in significant numbers. They are determined to survive without any disturbances. We call them guest birds because they migrate to our country from other nations. Their arrival brings the natural surroundings of winter back to life, infusing them with vibrant commotion. Tourists who appreciate nature are drawn to tourist centres focused on reservoirs as they seek to immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural world.
However, there have been individuals in our nation who have displayed irrational greed and have been indiscriminately hunting and killing these migratory birds for a significant period of time. Despite strict regulations, the government can only partially mitigate its impact. The main reason for this situation is a need for more awareness and proper application of the law.
We experience an immediate sense of joy when someone visits us at our home. According to specific individuals, the presence of a guest is considered to symbolise good fortune. As a result, our primary goal is to deliver exceptional service to our guests. We have an abundant capacity for hospitality. Unfortunately, the opposite holds for guest birds. After travelling thousands of kilometres in search of food during the winter, a group of birds, in their quest for survival and undisturbed habitat, migrate to our country in significant numbers. We call them guest birds because they migrate to our country from other nations. Their arrival brings the natural surroundings of winter back to life, infusing them with vibrant commotion. Tourists who appreciate nature are drawn to tourist centres focused on reservoirs as they seek to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of the natural world.
However, there have been a significant number of individuals in our country who have been irrationally greedy and have been indiscriminately hunting and killing these migratory birds. Despite strict regulations, the government can only partially mitigate its impact. The main reason for this situation is a need for more awareness and proper application of the law.
Some of the bird species that can be observed during the winter season include mallards, white-tailed ducks, perhaps chamahans, jalpipi, rajasrali, lalbuba, pankauri, buck, snail, crane, kaima, shrike, gang pigeon, bandador, harial, narundi, manikjora, and others. There are a greater number of birds. Every year, Bangladesh welcomes a variety of bird species, including approximately 15 species of ducks such as Gagini, Gao, Weal, Pigtail, Datasmock, Tham, Arathil, Perican, Paige, Hikari, and Batan. The winter area is the original habitat of these migratory birds. They inhabit the forests of the Himalayas, including Siberia. As winter approaches, they embark on migrations to countries located thousands of miles away. According to zoologists, Bangladesh is home to two types of birds. Residential and non-residential are two distinct categories. Guest birds are birds that do not reside permanently. Our country is home to approximately 650 species of birds, including both resident and non-resident species. Out of these, there are 360 resident species. There are 300 species that are not resident. Not all birds that do not reside in a particular area arrive during the winter season. Out of the 300 species, 290 are present during the winter season, while the remaining 10 species are not.
Winter guest birds roam in almost every district of our country. Every year, as winter begins, they arrive in flocks. The river banks, lakes, and forests are alive with the vibrant sounds of diverse bird species, each displaying a unique array of colours and shapes. These bird species can be found in numerous locations throughout Bangladesh. There are several notable places in Bangladesh, including Jahangirnagar University Campus, Mirpur Zoo, a lake near Mirpur Cantonment, Maheshkhali Island, Panchagarh, Bhitargarh, Charbhata, Shivaloy, Halhaor, Hakaluki Haor, Kuakata, Ghativhanga, Kaladia, Charandeep, Nijhum Island, Char Osman Island, Shahibanichar, Sand, Charmantaj, Netrakona Kalamkandar Haor, Kishoreganj Haor, Sunamganj Haorhatia Dwip, Charpia, Dalchar Jamirchar, Moulvibazar, Tanguar Haor, Charkukrimukdi, Galachipa, Khepupara, Jonakchar, Buriganga Nadi, Hoikyong, Shahpari Island, Manpura, Sonarchar, Charnijam, Charmanik, Chardial, and Fiery. A group of selfish poachers consistently destroys the habitats of migratory birds in our country, rendering them unsuitable for both sustenance and human habitation. Numerous rare species of migratory birds are tragically perishing as a result of the relentless actions of a group of selfish poachers. The ongoing practice of indiscriminate hunting of guest birds involves netting, baiting, and shooting.
Some individuals engage in bird-related hobbies, while others capture guest birds to sell them in the market. The range of migratory birds is slowly decreasing. Deforestation is causing birds to lose their haven. Once again, the cropland is facing a dire situation due to the use of artificial fertilisers and the excessive application of pesticides. The consumption of poisoned insects is tragically causing the crops to succumb. In addition, Bengalis have a strong desire to get up close to birds and capture photographs whenever they can observe visiting avian species. The sound of a camera clicking or any sudden noise disrupts the peaceful silence, causing the birds to become agitated and fly away. When additional cameras are needed, we click on them. The number of birds in many bird habitats is decreasing for the same reason. We need to exercise caution regarding this matter. It is essential to maintain a safe distance. Cameras or sound equipment should only be used when necessary, and their usage should be minimised whenever possible. Over the past few years, Bangladesh has welcomed guest birds during the winter. However, the number of these birds has significantly declined over time due to various challenges and adversities.
As per the Wildlife (Preservation and Security) Act of 2012, killing a bird carries a maximum penalty of a fine of one lakh rupees, imprisonment for one year, or both. The penalty and fine will be doubled if the same offence is committed again. Similarly, suppose an individual collects, possesses, purchases, sells, or transports the meat or body parts of a protected bird. In that case, they will be subject to a maximum prison sentence of six months and a maximum fine of 30,000 taka, or both. Despite the ban on killing and selling birds in the market, professional and amateur hunters persistently find ways to evade the law. In this scenario, ensuring that the current law is applied effectively is essential. The administration of the area in question should enhance its level of activity. Additionally, the people living in the Haor area need alternative employment opportunities.
It is important to keep birds alive to preserve the natural balance. Birds can sometimes be considered pests in nature. A decrease in the bird population could lead to difficulties in crop growth due to increased insect populations. If that is the situation, it becomes necessary to depend on pesticides. However, it poses significant harm to the environment. Countries that have a higher bird population tend to attract a more substantial number of tourists. The shortage of birds is indeed a matter of concern. Birds enhance the beauty of nature, providing a soothing sight that awakens our appreciation for the natural world. Let the birds grace us with their presence, filling our surroundings with the delightful sound of their chirping. We can enhance our compassionate behaviour by refraining from hunting or breeding guest birds. Guest birds are our friends in nature, and our moral responsibility is to ensure their safety. Allow them to reside peacefully in our country as guests for a designated period, and grant them the freedom to return to their country when that period ends.