Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Diminishing Numbers of Crow



Whenever there was a smoke we used to find this bird swirling and swarming around making a mono syllable vowel sound – Ah, ah, a, a , a , a ….. The black bird known as crow normally used to indicate where the religious ceremonies were going on, or where the meat was being dried. This was 20 years back. Now we cannot see this bird anymore.

The Crow
Where are they gone? It was a nuisance when they were there because when we were small we used to get the duties of guarding the meat against the crow when the meat is being     sun-dried. Slight complacency from the child sentry would amount to losing a ‘gutay’ (strand of meat) and a hard ‘autom’ from the parents. I used to be amazed about the birds intelligence because it knows when to make the move, the attack is launched when you are least careful and the crow seems to know it well. when I see my friends playing as I was on sentry duty, I used to wish the extinction of the evil bird.

Now that it can be no more seen in great flocks like before I am missing the bird. One, my kids do not need to do the sentry duties so they will not have such things to write like me. Two, the indicator of the social gathering is no more there. Three, they somehow beautified the surroundings with their presence with their not so melodious sound and a beautiful dark plumage. They can be spotted in ones and twos but not in huge flocks like in the olden days – about two decades back.

I do not know how their numbers decreased and what it indicates but it does concern me by the change. Is it due to global warming? Is it due to its predators? Who are its predators? And most important of all what does this indicate?

Last time I was talking with one of my friend from Paro while playing archery about the crow, and he too seems to remember how the crows use to flock around whenever there is a ‘lochey’. But during the recent ‘lochey’ he did not see them, and he did not notice the absence of the bird until we talked about it.

The crow must be becoming an endangered species in Bhutan. But the complication here is that these birds were seldom hunted down or harmed by the people. Their habitat seems to be the dzongs, lhakhangs and caves; they are not disturbed. So, when all the variables are constant and yet there is decrease in numbers, it indicates something that we are failing to see.

Whether they are there or not does not make much difference to us. Or does it? It did to me when I was a child for I was kept away from the harm’s way guarding the meat for days together and I m with a scar lesser now.  After all it is not a black necked crane, why bother?????