Things that make you to Think
This story tells you about a beautiful rare bird “Harial” which is found only South Asian countries.
In Bangladesh, Harial, the clay bird, is seen every where because plenty of food and safe accommodation. Jahangirnagar University (JU), renowned for its beautifully green campus, is an ideal habitat for many varieties of birds.
Thousands of people visit the campus during winter to watch different kinds of migratory birds as well as our resident birds. But, they hardly know about these birds. So it is not surprising that, when asked about the bird hariyal, what most of them have to offer is a blank look.
Unfortunately, many of the JU students and the surrounding community themselves do not know that the hariyal, a rare and beautiful species of pigeon, is also a resident like them on this campus. “This is the first time I have heard the name of the bird hariyal. I have lived here for three years but I have never seen this bird. Where does it come from? When does it come to our campus?” These are some of the questions asked by Redwanul Islam, a student at the URP department of JU.
Like Redwanul, many students are surprised to hear the name hariyal. Another surprise for us is that this bird is found in only a few places in the world. Sababa Monjur, a student from the English department, thinks that hariyal is another migratory bird on the campus like many others that come here crossing thousands of miles during the winter season.
While talking to a Zoology student Iftekhar Hossain, he says, “A good number of hariyal is living on the campus because of the availability of food and safe accommodation. Unfortunately though, there are many who do not know about the bird.” He thinks lack of public awareness about our resident and migratory birds is responsible for such a situation. The government hardly shows any interest on increasing public awareness on preservation of our natural environment.
“It is shameful that the responsible authorities are not concerned enough to create public awareness on our wildlife, which could help to preserve our natural environmental wealth for future generations,” says Adnan Ahmed, another student of JU.
Wildlife researcher Kamrul Hasan, an associate professor of the Zoology department at JU, says, “Nowadays, the number of hariyal has decreased because of the lack of sufficient food and safe accommodations, which is caused by the systematic felling of trees and forests without any proper planning.”
Experts and bird lovers are apprehensive about the future of rare and beautiful birds like hariyals in our country. Enam Ul Haque, president of Bangladesh Bird Club, says, “Ours is just a bird club. Bird lovers join us and organise get-togethers. We do our best to create awareness among the people, but we do not have the manpower to raise mass public awareness in order to save our wildlife. It can only be accomplished when big organisations or the government itself takes an initiative to create public awareness to save our wildlife including some rare species.
The forest department could also take an initiative to create public awareness. “There are 660 species of birds in our country, but how many of them do people know about? Not more than 20-25 species. Now it has become absolutely indispensable to create awareness among the people,” says Enam.
The hariyal is called Yellow-Footed green pigeon in English. It is one of the most beautiful species of pigeon. Its scientific name is Treron phoenicopterus. The hariyal has many colloquial names, such as in Assam: haitha, bor haita; Cachar (Assam): daorep gadeba; Naga: inruigu; Gujarat: hariyal; Maharashtra: Pisawa; Tamil: pachchai pura; Telugu: pachcha polka/guvva; Sinhala (Sri Lanka): bata goya.
Hariyal is only found in the South Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. In Bangladesh it is widely seen because of a large variety of fruit trees. There are six species of green pigeon found in our country. They are: Yellow-Footed, Orange-Breasted, Pom Padour, Thick Billed, Pin Tailed, and Wedge Tailed green pigeon. Among them, the Yellow-Footed green pigeon is the most common.
Hariyal generally measures up to 33 cm in body length, including its tail. It has yellowish olive plumage with greyish head and tail, brown bars on its under tail, light pinkish shoulder patch, bluish bill and yellow legs. They have a pleasant call, which sounds like ”Wheet-wa-hoo” and “hoo-hoo”. Hariyals always choose a serene place and live in groups. It prefers very tall trees to live in at night.
It breeds during the months of March-August and lays up to three-four eggs every year. Hariyals are selective feeders. They always prefer soft and ripe fruits. For this they are found in the forest areas or where varieties of fruit trees are available. Generally, hariyals eat figs, ficus, dumur and other soft, ripe fruits.
This story was published at The Daily Sun.