Birds are beautiful creations of God as we human beings. They have equal rights on this planet as we humans have. However, knowingly or unknowingly we sometimes poach them, destroy their habitats leading to dwindling numbers of species and sometimes to the extent of extinction. And thus the need for awareness and conservation of birds is felt. There are bird lovers around the world who work for this cause of conservation and awarness drive.Whatever small effort may it be, but is laudable.One such group of people is the “CHADHEI CLUB” of Sambalpur, Odisha, India.A group of bird enthusiasts have come together under the banner of Chadhei Club, a registered club, who go to different villages around Sambalpur and create awareness drive for conservation of birds and their habitats.Photographer by hobby, and with different professional backgrounds these birders move out to people on Sunday and other holidays to spread the message of compassion for birds.To save the birds and their habitats. Chadhei means Bird in the local language and thus the name of the Club, the “CHADHEI CLUB”….. Hanging camera and binoculars on their shoulder, water bottle in one hand, on weekends they slips into the forests of adjoining area, in search of birds and noting down the names and counts Sometimes to a local villages to create awareness.
One such successful story of awareness…..the man who changed his means of livelihood for the sake of birds.
His name is Bhakta, a man in his 60s. Presently staying near Durgapali, Sambalpur in a thatched house.A poor man but with a rich heart for birds.Once upon a time he was selling Parrots, Quails and other birds.Used to capture them from the jungles and sell them in the town to earn his livelihood.His only source of income .Once the members of Chadhei Club came to know about him and reached to him for counseling. He was being shown photos of different birds, their habitats, the usefulness of birds around us. He was told about our motto and requested him to join us. By that time he was so fascinated about the birds, that he declared his resolve to quit his profession….then what you will do…how you will earn your livelihood, the members exclaimed. He was firm on his decision. The members then left with the hope and promise to help him if required, for any other profession if he choose.
……one year later, the birders of Chadhei club again reached to the man.The scene was unchanged.Same thatched house, same man with grey hair sitting inside with the days catch of fish from the nearby river Mahanadi, as a source of livelihood.No sight of captured birds, no cages to keep the captured birds.A big smile on his face seeing the members and welcoming with folded hands, a sight, enough to bring tears of happiness in the eyes of Chadhei club members.We succeeded in our effort.But what about his livelihood.He disclosed that he has shifted to fishing.His son now is working a small part-time job in the municipality.More satisfying was his concern for the destruction of habitat nearby which earlier used to be a breeding ground of Scallybreasted Munia.He promptly took us for a round to the nearby area and started complaining about the damage done.With the promise to take up his concerns and offer to come forward for any help in future, the members returned.
Bhakta, the Birdman is our hope to succeed in our effort for conservation.
More and more such people will join.There are many such stories and will try to write some other day.
For Chadhei Club..keep doing the best…..keeping the saying in mind.
मैं अकेला ही चला था जानिब-ए-मंज़िल मगर
लोग साथ आते गए और कारवाँ बनता गया