It’s the time of the year when the weather is cold, the sun is bright and we feel like flying a kite (LOL – that rhymed). Well, it’s the month of Sankranti – which marks the end of winter and beginning of warmer and longer days. As a part of the festive celebrations we do a lot of things like buying new clothes, drawing rangolis, eating some traditional home cooked delicacies and most importantly flying kites. Fun to fly and beautiful to watch – kite flying has always been a major part of the Sankranti celebrations. Little did we know that these colorful & light framed toys could harm the lives of our feathered friends – the birds.
January month sees an annual, large-scale movement of birds in response to the change in weather conditions and availability of food. During this bird migration period is when we also see a lot of kites flying in the sky. Flying high in the sky at the end of a long string made using a strong combination of threads, sometimes coated with powdered glass (Manja), kites cause a major threat to the birds in the sky. Failing to notice the fine thread, that attaches the kite to the controller; the birds get entangled causing mutilation of wings, fractures, and even nerve injuries.
According to Jivdaya Charitable Trust (JCT), an NGO working towards rescue and treatment of stray animals and birds in Ahmedabad; more than 3000+ birds are injured every year during Makar Sankranti /Uttarayan, the famous kite festival in Gujarat. Though we here in Vizag might not be flying kites as much as the residents of Gujarat – we sure can keep these few points in mind the next time we go out to fly a kite:
1 – Don’t fly kites between 6 am and 8 am – Because that’s the time birds fly out of their nest looking for food.
2 – Don’t fly kites between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm – Because that’s when birds return to their nest.
3 – Don’t purchase glass coated strings (Manja) – Because they pose a major threat to birds up in the sky and also people out on the street; leading to serious injuries and even death.
4 – Contact the local animal rescue authorities in case you find an injured bird before performing any form of treatment on the bird.
So let’s make this year’s Sankranti celebrations a happy & safe one for all of us.