The wetland at the back of our house provided the opportunity to watch a wide variety of birds in their natural habitat. The avian flocks that inhabit the marshland were not only non-migrant but also mobile in behaviour.
David Hatch, the famous ornithologist, was considered worthy of respect in his own right. He was a lively gentleman and lived a very simple life. I friended him and sent him a letter of invitation to join me for an outing to the marshland. One fine morning David entered my office and said in a serious tone: “Let’s go to the moor tomorrow morning, chum.”
Next morning we set off for the swamp. “Take a peek, mate!” the conservationist suddenly cried out. He pointed at the marshland that lay ahead. My gaze shifted, and I cried out in surprise, “The green cover has almost disappeared!” David gazed at the mire as he spoke, “Yeah, the water body is robbed of the hyacinth beds.” “What will happen to the flocks of wintering water birds?” I wondered. “God save them!” A look of anguish crossed David’s face. “This loss of greenery will turn away birds, as the natural habitat is lost already,” I reflected. “This area must be protected at all costs,” David expressed. “It’s a real gem.”
A vehicle pulled in at the side of the water body. City municipal workers alighted from the vehicle. “Leave the premises,” a civic worker yelled at us. Astonished, I questioned, “Why?” “The municipal corporation has started a cleaning overdrive,” the civic worker said. David looked worried and upset. “Hey,” he said, “fewer flocks would descend here for want of roosting places.” “I’ve nothing to do with it,” said the civic worker. “It is an order.”
The civic workers acted with haste and started to clean out the green hyacinth beds. “Oh please. Don’t you destroy the hyacinth beds. They belong to the birds!” David looked upset. As soon as the small flock of birds saw the human inhabitants of the earth, they flew away.