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Mysterious bird phenomenon begins in Jatinga
ANUP BISWAS

Pitta
 HAFLONG, Sept 23 - Birds lovers, including tourists from various places watched the arrival of winged guests to Jatinga during this much-awaited mysterious bird phenomenon.

The mysterious bird phenomenon has made Jatinga, only 9 km from Haflong, the district headquarter of Dima Hasao in Assam world famous for the peculiar behaviour of migratory birds that occurs from September to November.

The arrival of the birds, mostly Indian pittas, kingfishers of two varieties, common moorhen, drango, green pigeon started yesterday night at around 7.40 pm and lasted several hours as the weather condition was quite favourable.

The birds, mostly aquatic and coming from various places thronged a few locations near Jatinga under some specific weather conditions like moonless night, heavy fog, drizzling and south-west wind direction.

Though there has been a marked fall in the number of visiting birds due to environmental and climatic change, but the enthusiasm of the bird lovers is still there – to witness this peculiar phenomenon.

Though the unsuspecting birds were butchered for meat earlier, but now not a single bird has been harmed as the church, NGOs and several other local organisations have been actively creating awareness about the need to conserve and preserve wildlife and the environment.

External Shiangsai, a local resident of Jatinga recounted that since his childhood this mysterious bird phenomenon was being witnessed and many avians like bittern, egret, kingfishers of various strikingly bright colours and size, moorhens, koel, drango and Siberian birds visit Jatinga from September to November every year.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department and the NC Hills Autonomous Council have appealed to the local people to help them in ensuring that the birds are not harmed in any way, besides allowing the visitors from various places to enjoy this mysterious bird phenomenon.

As for the mysterious bird phenomenon, Jatinga happens to be situated 9 kms from Haflong down the Lumding-Silchar road and is a village established in 1905 by the Late Lakhanbang Suchiang, who came with a batch of people from the Jaintia Hills. Earlier, some Jeme Naga people had witnessed the phenomenon while guarding their crops by a campfire at night. Incidentally, it was a foggy and moonless night.

Jatinga (the pathway of rain and water in Jaintia dialect) receives more rainfall than its neighbouring areas and the lofty Borail Hills stands on the north-east and south-west.

During dark moonless nights, the mist and fogs bearing south-westerly wind passes over Jatinga along the valley towards the north-east. Observation from 1981-82 onwards has revealed that most species are migratory birds and water fowl.

All species observed are diurnal. The birds are juvenile, i.e. they belong to the current year’s brood. None of these birds are found to be resident birds of Jatinga.

Birds come on foggy, moonless nights flying against the wind when it blows south-west to north-east. Significantly, absence of even one of these conditions results in non-appearance of the birds.

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