The Jatinga Mysterious Bird Suicide Phenomenon :
Jatinga, a village on a ridge, is located in Dima Hasao district, Assam State in India. The village is 330 kilometers (210 mi) south of Guwahati. The uniqueness of the village lies in a Mysterious Phenomenon making Birds “committing suicide”. Although the birds do not commit suicide and are actually killed, the myth of the suicides has spread far and wide among common people.
The phenomenon of ‘avian harakiri’, as the locals call it, was first observed by the Zeme Nagas, the inhabitant tribe of the region in the early 1900s.
The Jatinga Mysterious Bird Suicide Phenomenon occurs at Jatinga between September and November each year. During these late monsoon months, several migratory and local birds commit mass suicide at the village very mysteriously. As the sun sets, between 7 and 10 pm, hundreds of birds fall from the sky, plunging to their deaths by crashing into buildings and trees. For many years, locals believed that evil spirits that live in the skies were responsible for killing the birds.
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After many scientific studies and experiments, it has been concluded that the birds flying near the region are generally disoriented by the monsoon fog that makes them attracted by the village lights and fly towards them, sometimes hitting walls and trees during the descent. Some of the birds die, while others are seriously injured, becoming easy prey for the villagers to capture.
Studies showed that the victim birds aren’t long-distance migrators. About 44 species have been identified as ‘suicidal’ and most of them come from nearby valleys and hill slopes. These include Black Bitterns, Kingfishers, Tiger Bitterns and Pond Herons etc.
As the Jatinga Mysterious Bird Suicide Phenomenon is being studied deeply, many more shocking results are coming out also, making understand the mysterious phenomenon better. It seems most of the suicidal birds lose their natural habitats due to flooding during the monsoon season. Resulting migration to other places and Jatinga lies in their migratory path. However it isn’t clear why the birds fly after sunset, or why they get trapped at the same place voluntarily every year.
Anwaruddin Choudhury, a well-known ornithologist in Assam shared his opinion about the Jatinga Mysterious Bird Suicide Phenomenon as ‘‘It is not suicide, to be precise, but the fact remains that birds are attracted by light and fly towards any object with a light source. This phenomenon still puzzles bird specialists.”
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Late Salim Ali, India’s most celebrated ornithologist also shared his opinion about the mysterious phenomenon as “The most puzzling thing to me about this phenomenon is that so many species of diurnal resident birds should be on the move when, by definition, they should be fast asleep. The problem deserves a deeper scientific study from various angles.”
Though many scientific reasons has been described as the cause of the phenomenon, though the proper and solid reason is not discovered yet, making the region world famous. The birds committing suicide alone are responsible for a boost in tourism during the monsoon season. And to be honest they’re quite delicious !