Sarus Crane: Venerated Bird

The Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) is a large non-migratory crane. It is found in parts of the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and Australia.  These cranes are the tallest of the flying birds, standing at a height of up to 6 feet and live and forage in the wetlands. The Sarus Crane is easily distinguished from other cranes in the region by the overall grey colour and the contrasting red head and upper neck.

In India these birds are held in great esteem. It is said that the epic Ramayana written by sage Valmiki was inspired by an painful incident which happened to him. He was going for taking a bath in the sacred river Tamsha near Allahabad in North India in the morning. He decided to take a walk before taking the bath. On his walk he spotted a pair of Sarus Crane in an inseparable pose and was rooted to their beauty. Suddenly a hunter killed the male bird leaving the female making heart rending cries. The sage cursed the hunter. This poignant scene catalyzed the beginning of writing of the epic poem.

It is believed in India that these birds are the most faithful to each other and for whole of their life cling to each other. If one of them dies, the other pines for the spouse rest of its life and sometimes refuses to take food and die. It is due to this reason, the newly wedded girls in Gujarat and many other parts of India are blessed by the elders to have a life like the Sarus cranes.

In a program about wetlands in India, it was noted that the numbers of these birds are on decline. It may be due to the bad condition of many wetlands because of mindless infusion of pollutants from industries into these bodies of water which support diverse kinds of fauna. For example, the wetland Harike in the Taran Tarn district of Punjab was in a very deplorable state few years back. It resembled a drain from a city. Only due to the efforts of the Sant  Seechewal that many of the rivers and wetlands are breathing again and have been revived.

Ranjit Singh

I am working as a scientist in the India's premium E&P oil company. Besides the commitment to my job, I read lot of literature especially good fiction, history and science. I belong to Chandigarh and did my Masters in Chemistry from Panjab University Chandigarh specializing in physical chemistry. I am fond of surfing the internet for good articles, social networking and giving vent to writing for which I have aptly chosen the blog in Wordpress. Thanks

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4 Responses

  1. Yes majestic view of these birds i have viewed in my childhood near our village Thathia which is in Distt Kannauj, On the way to thathia to Makanpur Near Bhadausi there was large area of wetland a big barsati nullah was flowing through this patch when in those days we used to pass through this patch in the evening by bulluck cart from our agricultural field to home there majestic view were mwsmerising .In recent past i have read in the paper(Published from Kanpur) as the rain is playing luka chhuppi in the area so there breeding suffered a lot and there numbers are declining fast very soon we may not be able to see these birds there…so sad..

  1. June 9, 2014

    […] Sarus Crane: Venerated Bird […]

  2. June 25, 2014

    […] Sarus Crane: Venerated Bird […]

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