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Protect Bahrain's winged friends...

AMERICAN poet Maya Angelou once wrote about caged birds with clipped wings and tied feet, which sang of their homeland in sad chirps.

Looking down at a dead budgerigar the other day, I couldn't help but wonder if the poor bird had died during a daring escape attempt.

Left alone to die on an empty street, the budgie with its bright green and blue plumage was not easy to miss.

Its body was light and it appeared to have died only a few hours before.

Growing up in Bahrain, I've always felt rather sorry for birds.

Pigeons, which were the only species I could see outside, fared little better than the multicoloured birds caged in homes.

It wasn't uncommon to see pigeons run over by cars on my way home from school.

Even more heart-wrenching was that nobody would pick up a fallen bird and it was a common sight to find dead hatchlings on the streets.

While the hardy pigeons somehow seemed to find shelter from the heat on rooftops or window sills, other birds were not so lucky.

Several pets died in their cages because they were positioned in direct sunlight.

With little infrastructure and natural habitat left to make life better for birds during summer, it is time we stepped in to help them cope with the heat.

Thoughtful gestures such as leaving a tray of water under a shade or installing a birdbath in your garden could help.

Birds such as budgies are not meant for Bahrain, just like an oryx is not meant for the cold of Alaska.

There were plans to ship elephants and wild cats to Bahrain some months ago, but this is absolutely cruel.

What wildlife authorities in Bahrain need to be doing is protecting their own species.

In India, for example, an attempt to reintroduce cheetahs into wildlife habitats was met with opposition from some activists.

They cited the huge expense, especially since the country's native tiger population was dwindling.

Centuries ago explorers took home animals and plants from foreign lands, while colonists and settlers introduced species from their own countries to their new homelands.

The introduction of these new species often affected existing ecosystems and, in some cases, resulted in the death of other forms of life.

For those longing for some birdsong at the start of the day, it is not sensible to buy an expensive bird, cage it and hope it will sing.

It makes better sense to create some shade and leave food out so birds swing by your house and chirp at you in the morning.

The dead budgie I found with my friend did not deserve to die so far away from home.

It was only fitting that we buried it under a patch of green overlooking the sea.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Aug 24, 2012
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