Uttarayan, also known as the festival of kites, is referred to as the day of good health and a wealthy beginning. The term Uttarayan is derived from Sanskrit, ‘uttara’ (North) and ‘ayana’ (movement). It brings with it much celebration, competition, fun and excitement throughout.
Each year, during Uttarayan, the city’s skyline wears a magnificent look, dotted with colourful kites. However, this spells trouble for thousands of birds that get injured, because of the deadly manja (thread used for flying kites). Despite the ban on Chinese manja and lanterns, its execution remains questionable and the use still continues. Happiness and celebration, at the cost of lives of the birds, is absolutely not a good idea.
The soaring diamond-shaped beauties pose imminent danger for the birds. Officials have concluded that early morning and late evening are the times when birds leave their nests to seek food and return home, respectively. This is the time that threatens their very existence.
Here are some ways you can make this Sankranti safer for birds –
1. Replace Chinese manja with the cotton manja.
2. If you come across any stray strings of Chinese manja, collect and burn the same. Destroying them will save birds from getting entangled in it or worse, unknowingly feed on them.
3. Kite flyers should manoeuvre their kites away from the birds, and in case if a bird is injured, it should be immediately moved to a rescue centre and treated.
4. If you see an injured bird, hold it with a clean piece of cloth, cover it with a box, give it some water and call the helpline ASAP.
5. Don’t fly kites near the power lines, roads, trees, buildings or vehicles.
6. Never attach any items to your kite or kite line – this may cause injury to birds and people as well, once the kite is cut.
7. When you save an injured bird, keep it in a corner and at a safe place, away from potential predators.
8. Do not pour water and do not apply or feed any medicines on your own to the birds.
9. Respect lives and don’t play with injured birds, taking photographs and selfies for fun.
A little care and awareness will go a long way in saving lives of the birds. Make sure to keep the helpline numbers handy, including the numbers of your vicinity. Please do not make your pleasure a cause of their death. They too have a family!
Let birds fly this Uttarayan!