(Bihar Times) Like humans and other animals , birds play, dance, love and do things just for the pleasure of it. Birds, like humans, like company, move in flocks, preen each other, play together and share nest duties.
Similarly, they grieve just like we do. The evidence is largely anecdotal, from ornithologists and bird watchers. I am willing to believe it because a creature that sings and laughs and fights and cheats on its mate can also feel sadness.
After a car killed a coucal’s (a member of the cuckoo family) mate, he refused to leave her side or stop trying to revive her. One account on the Net is of a man who witnessed the sorrow of a magpie after its mate was killed on a roadway. The magpie swooped, time after time down to its dead mate shrieking and wailing .
In my last house, the sparrows decided to build nests in the bookshelf of the room I worked in. It meant that I had to get up every two minutes to let them in and out of the room with their grasses as the doors facing the lawn were kept closed because of the airconditioner. They made the nest, laid their eggs and were all set to live happily ever after when a gecko ate the eggs while they were away. The parents were devastated and flew in angry circles with loud cries. Their grief was so immediate that I felt guilty and sad as well.
Birds that mate for life, like peregrine falcons, geese and pigeons will not take a second mate if their first is lost. There are many instances of birds showing signs of grief when a mate has been killed. The anguished bird is known to remain near the body of its dead mate and mope. Signs of grief include the loss of appetite and the plucking of feathers . Parrots bond for life and are miserable if their mate is out of sight. Birds mourn like people - some never get past the loss of a mate, others become normal in a few months.
Doves are monogamous. If a dove loses its mate it spends the rest of its days alone. This is particularly sad for the Mourning Dove ( which gets its name from its plaintive call) because in America alone, many million are shot annually for “sport”.
"A greylag goose that has lost its partner shows all the symptoms of grief"," wrote Nobel prizewinning ethologist Konrad Lorenz. "The eyes sink deep into their sockets, and the individual has an overall drooping experience, literally letting the head hang."
Biologist Marcy Cottrell Houle studied two falcons as they worked to feed their five nest-lings. In her book "Wings for My Flight: The Peregrine Falcons of Chimney Rock" she narrates how one morning when, the female failed to appear, the male called out again and again and when the female did not return , the male uttered an unfamiliar sound "like the screeching moan of a wounded animal, the cry of a creature in suffering." After the cry, the male sat motionless all day long. The next day he went on a frenzy of hunting to try and save the nestlings.
People who keep caged birds ( may the gods bring them back as caged birds next time) have reported how their birds on the loss of a mate / companion lose their appetite and weight. One owner recounts how her grieving bird would eat only when the owner was at home and would scream when she left the room. Another owner writes how when one of her Conures died, the other one moaned herself to sleep for ages. She also kept saying "one," over and over. Before the other bird died she said "one, two" when the lady would ask how many birds she had. Captive birds whose companions have died become depressed, pine and die of broken hearts
A French newspaper published a series of photographs of a flock of birds that stopped on a highway in the Ukraine. A passing vehicle and hit one of the birds who could not move away from the road. Her mate lingered nearby offering solace and even brought food to her. On his return from a food gathering trip, he found her dead and tried to shake her awake, crying out. Each time a car passed, the bird flew up and then returned to the body. A photographer, concerned for the safety of the living bird, put down his camera, picked up the dead bird and removed it from the road. The grieving bird lingered in a nearby tree, "crying" and reluctant to move on.
A traveler recounts he spotted a gathering of swallows sitting on a gravel road. Getting close enough he saw that the swallows were sitting by bodies of dead swallows---probably young ones whose first flights had ended in disaster. On the overhead electrical lines were other swallow families all teaching their young ones to fly.
Anecdotes abound about people who have seen injured or dead birds on a road with their mates sitting by them. One person writes how he removed an injured bird from the road and put it under a bush. Its mate came along and just sat there for hours.
A biologist was witness to a young boy shooting a female starling. A larger male starling, obviously her mate, landed next to the dead female and sounded a distress call, flapping its wings in challenge. It put itself at risk with its courage. The boy slowly approached. The male starling stood his ground, trying to protect his mate but when the boy was just a few feet away, the bird flew onto a nearby branch and continue to cry and flap its wings. When the boy picked up the bird and started walking away, the male flew a short distance behind till the boy entered a building.
Birds, like humans, don’t just grieve for birds but for companions of other species as well. The owner of a ring necked dove also had an old Pekingese who became irreversibly ill. Becky the bird sat next to the dog on the sofa. Finally when they had put the dog to sleep and came from the vet without him , Becky started looking for him on the sofa, then returned to her cage, then went back to his place, then to her cage. Eventually she stopped eating, became lethargic and sat in her cage rather than flying around the house as she did earlier.
Chickens are by nature very social animals who form special bonds to other birds or humans, and mourn them when they die.
Birds, animals, humans, insects, plants…all of us are the same. Why not live and help live ?
To join the animal welfare movement contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Creatures of the world live and help live
Killing a snake brings bad luck
Effects of the startle Reflex on Animals
Awaken Your Soul by Loving Animals
Feeling of grief in Animals
Altruism in Animals
Music Soothes Animals
How Animals recognize their Kins
Animals teach their offspring like human moms
Cruelty to Animals in Slaughter houses
What is the secret to a perfect life and happiness?
How is Ghee being adulterated ?
Difference between a man & an animal
Homosexuality Is Not Against Nature In Animal Kingdom
Programmes for improving Animal Welfare
Promiscuity in mating behaviour of Birds
Uses for slaughtered Animals accelerate killing of Animals
Slingshots & Catapults Destroy Wild Life
Human Intelligibility of Animals
Animal grooming of offspring is worth emulating
Illegal Trade of Killing Cattle
Eating Cattle Meat Causes E Coli Infection
Some tips on making Puppies’ life comfortable
Some tips on keeping kittens clean
Snake skin trade dangerous for eco system
Dog shows are not for dog lovers but for moneymakers and charlatans
Political agenda for Animal welfare needed
How foolish it is to kill Sea creatures for Ornaments
Infectious diseases from Animals to Humans
How pitiable is Rabbit farming?
Remedies for Animal ailments
Infected Pig Meat Risks Your Life
Animals spread dangerous Ebola virus to humans
Animals Have More Sense
Municipal Policy on hazards of pet shops
Mutualism makes Species of the nature flourish
Adoption Fair for Puppies
How Animals behave in packs
Why People prefer dogs and cats to human beings
Positive effects of spaying and neutering on pets
Mammals & Birds cry like human beings
Biomemetics Provides solution to human problems
Chinese food products- the greatest killer
Pets make better partners than humans
How harmful is the Packaged Meat
Stop Slaughter of Cows for Bone Trade
How cruel it is to dump pet animals ? view comments...
Don’t hurt animals on festive occasions
Let the earth beings survive
Glues are made of animal remains
Meat increases risk of cancer
Birds provide springboard to song composers
Is it not an act of Cannibalism?
How many animals do you have to eat before you become man ?
To eat or not to eat Meat
Insulin from Animals
Is It Healthy Decision to Promote Rat Eating in Bihar
Use of Animal bones in Porcelain
Infection of Tick disease in Dogs and its cure
Vegetarian diet is the best diet for human beings
Non-Veg Diet causes Dementia
Excuses for being non-vegetarians
Body odour of Non-vegetarians
MEAT threatens Planet’s Survival
Am I smarter than you ? Yes, if you are a meat eater.
Need to orient educational system to deal with animals
How to Avoid Cruelty to Gold Fish?
How To Make Everyday An Animal day
Are Eggs Vegetarian?
Are You One of these People ?
Use of Animal Fats in Cosmetics Industries
Killing of endangered Species for Perfume Industries
Missionary Campaign to Control Cruelty to Animals- needed
Drink Milk, Get Sick
Parents Create Monsters
The Business of Murder:Factory Farming and the Meat Industry in India
Effect of landscaping of birds on environment
Dangers of killing deep Sea-Sharks for Cosmetic Products
Use of dog in diagnosis of diseases
Sacred Nature of Neelkanth
Cruelty to Polo Ponies comments...
Self-Regulation of Population by Animals
Dangers of Animal meat eating
Arsenic poison in chicken feed
Cruelty to Animals by Govt. Vets
Worship of God with Blood and Suffering of Animals and Birds
Consequences of Chloramphenicol in Shrimp Industry
Hazards of Trade in Peacocks’ Feather
Supreme Court Ban on cruelty to Animals
Are you a Bad Pet Owner?
The Goat That Laughed and Wept
Animal Owners’ personality traits resemble their Pets’
Human Propensities of Goat
sacrifice at the altar of religion
as foster parent
feed from rendering plant
Intelligence of Birds
Human Propensities of Cow