Here's why birds hate Sankranti

Jan 13, 2012, 07:45 IST | Nivedita Dargalkar

In the run-up to the kite-flying festival, fire brigade attends calls for 200 ailing birds who got tangled in the strings

In the run-up to the kite-flying festival, fire brigade attends calls for 200 ailing birds who got tangled in the strings

The day after tomorrow is Makar Sankranti, the time of year when the fire brigade is kept busy attending calls about bloodied, maimed or disfigured birds trapped in the slicing loops of the manja.

Gnarled: A vet gives medical treatment to a Black Ibis critically injured
by a kite string in Ahmedabad yesterday.

This year, in the run-up to the kite flying festival, the brigade has already attended 200 rescue calls for ailing birds that got intertwined in the kite glass-coated thread hanging from trees and cable wires.

The figures are higher than last year, when throughout the festival, the brigade attended to a total of 188 distress calls for birds. This year, with still two days to go for the festival, the number has already reached 200.

No ruffling their feathers: A PeTA activist dressed in feathers highlights
the plight birds suffer during the kite-flying festival as a result of getting
entangled in the glass coated manja used to fly kites. pic/Bipin Kokate

"The birds suffer multiple cuts on their legs, body and wings as they desperately try to disentangle themselves after getting stuck in the thread. Many of them lose their wings owing to the sharpness of the manja, thus, disabling them from flying," said a fire official who has rescued several birds this year.

Chief Fire Officer C H Muzawar said, "The number of such cases of trapped birds peculiarly go up during this time of the year. As the festival approaches nearer, the numbers are expected to rise."

He added, "The firemen have been instructed to respond to the distress calls as soon as possible and rescue the trapped birds."

Of the many casualties, a barn owl was injured last year at Byculla after
getting enmeshed in the manja of a kite. pic/afp

NGOs step in
Meanwhile, city NGOs have lined up rescue operations to ensure that the trapped birds are rescued and given timely medical aid.

Col J C Khanna, secretary, Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said, "For the birds that get injured during the festival, we will keep two ambulances and an eight-member para-veterinary staff ready to attend to the ailing birds and dispense medical help to them. Our volunteers will also frequent spots like Dadar and Girgaum Chowpatty and various kabutarkhanas in the city to locate and treat injured birds." BSPCA has already started the emergency service for birds. 

Bhavin Gathani, trustee of Karuna Parivar NGO, said, "We will be running special ambulance services during the festival to ensure that ailing birds are rescued in time and treated for injuries so they do not have to encounter serious problems like loss of their flight."

In case you spot a trapped or injured bird, call the following numbers for help:
Fire Brigade Control: 022-23076111
Karuna Parivar NGO: 022-28763856/1313

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