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
  • The Coronation of the Corpse Queen

    Most people like a good love story. But this macabre true tale of a Portuguese royal romance can satisfy both fans of romance and horror stories at the same time. In 1340, Ines de Castro came to Portugal as a lady in waiting for the Princess Constanca of Castile, who was set to marry Prince...

    Read More
  • Rare Ship Burials Discovered in Iceland

    Archaeologists have recently discovered a series of Viking burials in a fjord in North Iceland. So far, a total of four burials have been uncovered, with two being ship burials. Boat burials are often associated with Viking funerals in the popular imagination, but they are actually quite rare. This is because they were reserved only...

    Read More
  • The Mystery of the Mary Celeste

    On December 5, 1872, the crew aboard the British ship Dei Gratia saw another ship floating in the water. No crew was visible on the other boat, which was recognized as the Mary Celeste, so the captain ordered that the Dei Gratia see if the people on the other ship needed help. What the boarding...

    Read More
  • Conjoined Porpoise Twins Found in North Sea

    The phenomenon of conjoined twins is well-known among humans and other animals. There are often news reports of life-saving surgeries undertaken to separate and save conjoined children. And oddity museums like Ripley’s usually contain pictures or models of conjoined animals like two-headed calves. A recent discovered instance of this condition is even more rare and...

    Read More
  • French Fries Can Kill You

    The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition just released some really depressing news. According to a recent study, French fries can be deadly. In fact, they are so bad for you that they can double your risk of an early death if you eat them as often as two times per week. And it’s not just...

    Read More
  • The Impostor Princess

    On a spring day in 1817, in the small town of Almondsbury in Gloucestershire, England, a local cobbler encountered a confused and disoriented young woman. Although she was English in appearance, she was wearing strange clothing, including a turban, and she did not speak or understand English. No one knew who she was, and she...

    Read More
  • America’s Most Haunted House

    When most people think about San Diego, they imagine beautiful beaches, cultural attractions like their world-famous zoo and Balboa Park, and endless sunshine. But the city has a darker side, including what has been billed as America’s most haunted house. Located in the area now called Old Town, it was once at the heart of...

    Read More
  • Eastern State Penitentiary’s Strangest Prisoner

    On August 12, 1924, Eastern State Penitentiary got its most interesting inmate. The prisoner, named Pep, went down for murder and was sentenced to life without possibility of parole. It all sounds like a normal prison story but for one detail: Pep was a dog. At the time of his incarceration, newspaper headlines claimed that...

    Read More