They are called Nature’s scavengers. They eat putrid flesh and thus prevent many diseases. But the carcasses they used to clean had done them in since a few years back. The cattles were given declofenac , a medicine for fever and even if a fraction was retained in the flesh of animal, its flesh was like a poison for the vultures. So their number began dwindling, so much so that they became endangered species.
In India, i remember of my childhood village days, there was a place outside every village where dead cattle were thrown. Vultures would descend on it and eat the flesh. They made peculiar sounds. They are so big that even dogs wont dare go near. Only crows are allowed the liberty.
All this is gone now. But a few days back, i happen to spot vultures outside a village where a carcass was thrown by some villager. After so many years saw and heard the voices.
There were Himalayan Griffon and Cinereous vultures…
It is a species of large owls found in india. They are very rare in our area in Punjab. I was lucky to spot this beautiful owl in a forest near my village.
As such, it chooses its roost so cleverly that it completely camouflage itself. Only sometimes it is noticed by crows , treepies and babblers who make a hell of noise near it and force it to fly away. Only during one such cacophony I spotted it. After many unsuccessful efforts finally I was able to photograph it.
Due to the rapid urbanisation the habitats of many animals and birds have come under threat of being decimated. Human beings are interfering with the way the nature works. Deforestation is on the rise. At many places in the world, the forests are being converted into agricultural land.
Another reason is the harmful chemicals present in the medicines. This is nowhere more evident as in the drastic reduction in the population of many Vultures and eagles. Some Vultures like Griffons and Cinereous Vultures and eagles like Steppe eagles at one state came almost to the stage of becoming extinct. The reason that is cited is the presence of declofenac in the flesh of carcasses which these vultures feed on. This medicine was given to the animals for disease.
But this medicine has been banned now. Also the efforts are on to breed the Vultures in captivity and releasing the grown up birds back into their habitat. Some Birds which are on the IUCN red list are spotted by me in our area. It gives hope that the dismal situation will be reversed.
Many Vultures and Eagles have reached on the brink of becoming extinct. The main reason for this is said to the consumption of contaminated flesh from carcasses. Many of these Vultures migrate from Eurasian areas to the comparatively warmer climates found in Asia. Here they come for escaping the bitter cold and lack of food there. They rear their young here.
Fortunately, I have been able to spot these Vultures at some places like garbage dumps or where some people used to dump the carcass. These birds come there from hills nearby. Most prominent amongst them is Himalayan Griffon Vultures.
I am going to narrate an incident. I am in search of spotting the birds. The day is foggy and very cold breeze is blowing: not favourable conditions for Photography. There is a square of bushes with two three acacia trees in between.
Suddenly, I spotted this bird sitting on an electric wire overhead. I was surprised to find it there. I try to click a picture but it is very shy and flies to a tree. I try to invade through bushes to reach near it but couldn’t locate it. But while coming out of the bushes, I just stumbled upon a beehive on an acacia tree whose branches have been chopped off by some villager. It was just on the tree trunk abutting the bushes from almost all sides.
But I could hear the sounds being made by not one but three birds in the bush adjacent to the beehive.
I tried to position myself behind a bush and waited. Lo and behold, two of them slowly sneaked near the beehive and began plucking the bees for eating.
Some birds like to live in groups with one another. This may be due to the similar food habits of some different birds. Other reasons may be similar nesting patterns. I have observed that in the river beds which is full of brownish sand and assorted sized pebbles birds like Paddy Field Pipits, Crested Larks and Ashy Crowned Sparrow Larks cohabit. One more reason seems to be that their colours match the sand of the bed creating a perfect camouflage.
One day we found together Ashy crowned Sparrow Larks , crested Larks and pipits forage together in the Ghaggar river bed perhaps they are terrestrial birds. I could take a photo of Juvenile Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark ( in Front) and Paddyfield Pipit in the back in the Ghaggar River passing near Panchkula city of Haryana in India.