Do Birds Really Commit Suicide In Assam Or Is It A Myth?

The most bizarre things have happened in India, one of which is this phenomenon in Jatinga, Assam where flocks of migratory birds commit suicide every year, or do they?

Jatinga is a small village in Dimao Hasao district in Assam, 330 kms south of Guwahati and is home to 2500 Khasi-Pnar people. You wouldn’t have ever heard about this village if it wasn’t for the birds!

The reason why this village is very famous across the globe is that there is a myth that surrounds this mysterious area. The myth says that every year, right after the monsoon ends, flocks of migratory birds commit suicide in groups here! This phenomenon is not restricted to a single species of birds but happens to a varied number of species! Just imagine!

But this is a myth. There are two theories that are proposed and both are very likely to be true.

The first one : As per certain studies, it is said that the birds are attracted to the bright lights of the village and descend from the skies. This phenomenon happens usually post sunset during the moonless nights as that is when the birds are attracted to the lights of the village the most.

The late naturalist E. P. Gee brought this phenomenon to global attention in the 1960s. He drove to Jatinga with famed ornithologist late Salim Ali. As per a report in The Statesman in 2015 about the phenomenon it is stated that, “The cause of it is likely to be disorientation at high altitudes and high speed winds due to the widespread fog characteristic at the time.”

The second one: This theory says that the birds descend from the skies after being disoriented as explained above, only to be captured and killed by the locals using bamboo poles.

When the myth about the birds committing suicide was broken and it was found out that the villagers killed them, efforts to educate the villagers began. There were two possibilities as to why the villagers were killing them. One would be the obvious one – for consumptions since the people living here are tribals. And the second one could be that the villagers thought that these birds were sent from the evil spirits to bring pain and sadness to Jatinga.

Experts have been worried that the flocks of migratory birds coming to this area have been reducing drastically due to environmental degradation.

Isn’t this phenomenon really bizarre? Did you know about it?

Photo: India Live Today

Heer Khant
Heer Khant

Traveller | Writer | Photographer | Maverick | Social Worker | Lawyer | A freedom-loving woman for whom words are like wings to her soul. She believes in aliens, hates boundaries and lives like the first human on Earth.

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