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Pochamaria village - a famed bird sanctuary

Monjuara Khatun | Published: October 25, 2019 00:52:39


RAJSHAHI, Oct 22: Not only in winter, but all the year round Pochamaria village under Puthia upazila of the district becomes abode of thousands of birds, both indigenous and migratory, which makes the pastoral village into a bird sanctuary.

While walking through the road near the Pachamaria village in the morning, the chirping of birds can be heard.

Passersby said the sound can be heard from early morning to the evening. They said now there were only a small number of birds at the village. That is why only the calls of local birds can be heard but within next one month (November-December) migratory birds of various species would start to arrive when the village and surrounding areas would be throbbing with further clamouring and sweet melodies of those birds.

According to the ornithologists, Pachamaria is one of the largest birds' villages in the world.

Various types of local and migratory birds live here for decades. The village is under Shilmaria union and the office of the Union Parishad (Council) is also situated in this village.

In the bamboo groves and on top of the trees, hundreds of birds used to live for a long time. Situated beside the river Baranoi, many water bodies or beels surrounding the village always remain water logged.

The entire union covering 42 square kilometres area is filled with varieties of flora, fauna and birds.

There having a large number of water bodies surrounding Pachamaria village, many migratory birds used to visit and stay here.

Local people informed, during summer and rainy season, Shamuk Khol or Shamuk Bhanga (Asian Open bill stork) birds used to come to the village and prepare their nests.

In addition to many other varieties of birds, more than 2,000 Shamuk Khol birds used to live on trees in the village.

Since the rainy season has ended, a small number of birds is now seen to live in the village. 

Villagers informed the birds faced rough weather during recent rainy season that is why many birds went away.

Most of the birds which are available now are of local varieties. Now, as the winter season is approaching, birds will soon return to the tree tops and nearby water bodies of the village.

Shilmaria Union Parishad Chairman Sazzat Hosain Mukul informed, birds start to come to the village in a large number from the month of March every year but most of the birds are seen to visit the village during December, January and February.

However, many birds used to live in the village round the year. The birds which mainly visit and make nests in the village from laying eggs and breeding of chicks are Shamuk Khol, Pankouri, Stork, Migratory Nishi Bok or Waak Black-crowned Night Heron, Kana Bok, Jathua or Boro Sada Bok Great Egret, Majhari Bok, Little Egret, Gobok Cattle Egret, Kastechora White Ibis, Tila Ghughu, Dhabol Ghughu , Rose-ringed Parakeet, large Pankowri Great Cormorants, Haldey Pakhi, Goyar Darter or Snake-bird, Basanta Bauri, Bauri, Jhuti Shalik, Common Kingfisher, Fish Eagle, Nilkantha, Suichora  or Common Green Bee-eater and several hundred more varieties mentioned,  UP Chairman Sazzat Hosain Mukul.

He further said birds are not now limited to only in Pachamaria village but in neigbouring Jashopara, Kartikpara, Borboria, Amritpara and Kanamaria villages. Birds used to visit and make nests to lay eggs and breed chicks on the trees.

Pachamaria Birds Conservation Committee used to make the people of the village and the surrounding villages conscious about saving birds through arranging birds fair regularly.

Despite facing various encumbrances, people of the village have established a relation of friendship with birds.

In the early dawn, surroundings of the village turn heavenly unique with melodious twittering and chirping sounds of thousands of birds living around.

Not only during the early morning but throughout the entire day the villagers are enchanted with songs of varieties of birds in the village.

Hasmot Ali, local journalist and an activist of Pachamaria Birds Conservation Club, said local people have established a friendly relation with birds.

The members of the Birds Conservation Club were always active in saving the serenity of environment so that the birds can feel safe and live safely in the village and the surroundings.

Even children and young boys of the village do not disturb the normal movement of the birds. 

Rezaul Islam, a farmer of the village Pachamaria said, birds do not damage crops or disturb any resident of the village.

Though dropping of birds is spread throughout the village, villagers are habituated with such situation.

However, he mentioned, using pesticides in the field and hunting  birds secretly thorough using traps, nets and poison traps was making the birds' population of the village panicky.

As a result, many birds flee from the areas.

Shams Bin Sharif, an environment activist and spokesperson of Bangladesh chapter of Sweden  based 'Green Circle Alliance', informed felling of trees, indiscriminate use of pesticides in the crop field were mainly responsible for the waning bird population.

The pesticides are destroying the food chains of those birds and often making those incapable to breed.

Indiscriminate use of pesticides is killing dragonfly, footi, butterfly, moth, leda, goali, honey-bees and all other sorts of insects on which the birds live.

It is learnt, Birds' Conservation Programme of the village was first initiated in 2004.

Some young men of the village thought to conserve the birds including those migratory birds and they came to the local Union Parishad Chairman Sazzat Hosain Mukul. The Chairman gave a patience hearing of the proposal of the young men and instantly declared a ban on hunting of any bird in the village and the surrounding areas.

Villagers of Pachamaria further informed local young people were active to turn the village into a birds' sanctuary.

Through visiting door to door and by using banners and posters they requested villagers to treat the birds as the guests of the village and not to disturb birds by threatening those any way.

For patronisation and conservation of birds, authorities of Jahangirnagar University and the Ministry of Forest and Environment jointly awarded Union Parishad Chairman Sazzat Hosain Mukul in 2007.  Moreover, the daily Prothom Alo and mobile phone operator Grameenphone also honoured him with crests and prizes for his contribution of conservation of birds.

In 2017, a Birds Observation Tower was built at Pachamaria village by Shimaria union Parishad to make bird watching easy for the visitors.

Hundreds of people from across the country and abroad visit the village to watch birds.

Renowned ornithologist and veterinarian, Professor Dr. Jalal Uddin Sarder of Rajshahi University,  who is also an adviser of Pachamaria Birds Conservation Committee, said , residents of Pachamaria and surrounding villages show ardent love for conserving birds.

The name of the village has been internationally acclaimed due to united efforts of the villagers and the members of the conservation committee.

However, he expressed his concern over the global climate change which is also affecting the weather condition as well as natural surroundings of the region.

Like human beings, birds will also be victim of the climate change effects, he commented.

It is said, 'Nature is the best teacher' and the very sentence can be proved authentic by visiting the Birds' Village Pachamaria.

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