Do Birds Commit Suicide? The Secret Behind the Bizarre Village Jatinga
Ornithologists have been curious in studying the strange behavior of various species of birds in the Jatinga region of India. A small village of Assam, famous for its beauty of a damsel with beautiful scenic mountains surrounding the area, comes to live at the end of the monsoon season in August and September.
During this time of the year, only 1500 km by 200 meters of the area experiences a curious and unexplained phenomenon from 6 pm to 9:30 pm during the foggy and moonless nights.
Hundreds of birds, of various colors and breeds, converge here, drawn literally like moths to a flame. Dazed, the birds fall automatically suicide and fall on the ground. Even those birds hovering over the village also commit suicide. About 200 birds commit suicide in a night.
But, the exact reason behind the phenomenon is an unexplained mystery and remains to Jatinga alone. The most astonishing fact being they are diurnal birds who spend their nights in their nests is committing suicide.
Many curious ornithologists have referred them as migrating birds, but are not so. Instead, these birds dwell within a distance of 10 to 15 kilometers from the village.
When the curious researchers enquired about the mystery, the locals recalled their ancestors. They described how a small group of the Nagas left the place terrified. This took place on a moonless night when a buffalo went missing.
They came up to the village in search of the animal and experienced the mystic phenomenon. The birds swooped down on them from the darkness. Terrified, the superstitious Nagas fled, believing them to be evil spirits.
Some legends call this a cursed place after learning about the death of three women. These women were accused of practicing witchcraft, and black magic and the villagers burnt them alive.
The villagers have assumed them the spirits of these women who are cursing the village in the form of birds. Though there are various human-designed lights is used, the phenomenon continues even today.
Although Jatinga is known as the bird suicide ground, there are some scientific reasons for the occurrences of strange behavior among the birds. Researchers have stated that the sudden disorientation is the cause of a combination of high altitudes, high winds, and dense fog that force these birds to plunge themselves into the lights of the village.
The weather of the province changes the magnetic status of water that bewilders the birds. Wildlife and bird societies of India have visited this place and found a decrease in the rates of bird deaths by 40%.
The Assam Government is anticipating using this occurrence to attract tourists to the small town. They have attempted to enlighten the mostly illiterate people of the village about the need to preserve birds instead of killing them; abolish the setup light to lure the birds.
The mystery of “avian harakiri” or “bird suicides” has attracted curious scientists and tourists around the world, which gave birth to the Jatinga Bird Festival.
If you are curious enough for viewing the strange nature of the birds, then Jatinga is the place. You will find 44 different species of them including Tiger Bittern, Black Bittern, Little Egret, Pond Heron, Indian Pitta, Kingfishers, Hill Partridge, Green Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Necklaced Laughingthrush and Black Drongo.
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