India’s Bermuda Triangle for Birds

The village of Jatinga, in India, plays host to a curious natural phenomenon every year. For nearly 100 years, between September and November and after the area’s monsoon season ends, thousands of birds plunge into the village and die.

The birds only do this on dark nights, when it is foggy or when they moon provides little light. It also only occurs between the hours of 6 and 10pm. It is thought that these birds become disoriented in the dark and fly towards the lights of the village. Some of the birds accidentally fly into windows and poles, which caused many to believe that they were somehow committing suicide. This theory has been debunked, though, as it has emerged that most of the birds are killed by the villagers, who are clubbed to death and then eaten. Residents of Jatinga even admit to turning on lights or lighting torches to attract them.

jungleideas.files.wordpress.com
jungleideas.files.wordpress.com

Though it is now known that the birds are not killing themselves, scientists are still puzzled as to why the birds are becoming so disoriented and flying into a death trap. Over 40 species of bird are involved in the annual event, so it cannot be explained by breed-specific behavior. There are also no long distance migratory birds involved in this phenomenon, either. So far, only local bird species, who should be less prone to disorientation and getting lost near to their home, have exhibited this destructive behavior.

Another strange aspect of this annual event is its restricted geographic location. The birds only fly towards the lights in a mile-long strip of land that is less than 100 feet wide. Attempts to place lights to attract the birds to adjacent areas have all failed. They also all fly in from the north only.

Some researchers have suggested that a combination of factors, including fog, altitude, and high winds, cause the birds to become disoriented and fly to the lights in an attempt to stabilize. It is also possible that the lights in the village are bright enough in themselves to disorient the birds.

Whatever the reason, conservation groups in the area have been working to stop the villagers from killing the birds. This has been an uphill battle since many see them as a gift from god, but they have managed to decrease the bird murders by at least forty percent over the past several years. Some hope to convince residents to use the phenomenon to attract tourists to the area, thereby boosting incomes and providing jobs. This has also had some effect, as a few hotels have sprung up to house visitors to Jatinga. It could be that the annual bird visitations could turn into a watching event, rather than the feasting event it currently is.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Ireland’s Most Haunted Castle

    Don’t let its name fool you. Leap Castle, in Ireland’s County Offaly, is not named for people leaping off it. (In fact, Leap is actually pronounced “Lepp” in this instance.) It is however, reputed to be the most haunted castle in all of Ireland, and it may be the most haunted one in the world....

    Read More
  • Jacques Saint-Germain: New Orleans Vampire

    New Orleans is well-known for its eccentric inhabitants. If you’re into ghost stories, voodoo, or pretty much anything paranormal, you can find something of interest in this Louisiana city. It should come as no surprise, then, that The Big Easy had its very own vampire scare in the 20th century. One night in 1903, the...

    Read More
  • The Uninhabited Garbage Island in the South Pacific

    In 2015, a group of researchers traveled to Henderson Island, a small atoll in the South Pacific. This uninhabited island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, had been remarkable because its pristine beauty had been largely unaffected by humans. What the scientists found when they visited Henderson has proved that humanity’s capacity for destroying...

    Read More
  • When the Wealthy Hired Their Own Personal Garden Gnomes

    Most people are familiar with garden gnomes, the ornamental wooden or plastic creatures found in many gardens and dressed like Snow White’s seven dwarves. But did you know that in the 18th century you could hire a real person to act as your very own garden decoration? The practice was actually quite popular among the...

    Read More
  • How Inbreeding Caused the End of a Royal Family

    The Spanish branch of the Habsburg family once ruled vast swathes of land in Europe. At one point, they controlled not only Spain, but areas in modern-day Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and even the Americas, among other areas. But this powerful family came to a crashing end in 1700. It wasn’t war or murder that destroyed...

    Read More
  • One of the Art World’s Most Successful Hoaxes

    Paul Jordan-Smith was an editor and a literary critic for a major newspaper before he rose to great fame as an artist. In 1913, he developed a distaste for modern art after visiting an exhibition of modern artwork in Chicago. This was the first source of his inspiration to become an artist. The second and...

    Read More
  • New Jersey’s Most Famous Elephant

    America has plenty of interesting roadside attractions. World’s largest ball of twine? We have that. A replica of Stonehenge made out of old cars? We have that, too. We also have the world’s largest elephant building, which is located in Margate, New Jersey, beside the beach in Josephine Harron Park. This elephant building isn’t just...

    Read More
  • How Mother’s Day Ruined its Founder

    Mother’s Day for many people is a lighthearted celebration. It’s a day to take your mother to brunch, get her a card, or send her some flowers. But for the creator of the American version of the holiday, it was a serious business, and her support for it eventually ruined her life. Anna Jarvis, the...

    Read More