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Bird Biodiversity Contd….

Bird Biodiversity Contd….

Dahuks (Waterhens) are still there, but in lesser numbers, so to say, in gradual and steady decrease of natural greenery and water bodies around the rural habitats. They are very social in nature, particularly when within themselves. They sing in chorus whenever they find some other members of their own species or community. They sociable, can also be domesticated.

I remember an event when I went to bathe in a big water body generally called as Shire / Shayor in Bengal part of India ( known as West Bengal, India ). The pond was crowded with lotus and lily and other aquatic plants. Certainly I found one baby bird ( chick ) on the lotus and lily leaves. I was was attracted by the sound of it. It was a bit frightened, but not so as other birds. I caught it. Perhaps it had left its nest or mother by fault. I took it to my home. It was wet, not so nice-looking as its feather was not yet grown and was jumbled up with water. My brothers did not like it very much and I left it from where I collected, a few hours later. Anyway a small young bird is attractive and a curious creature to a certain extent to a young human in his/her teens!

We could see new bird species visiting our areas in those days. In the rainy season we could see frequently one named locally named as Kadakhocha (কাদাখোচা ) where ‘kada’ means mud and ‘khocha’ means ‘to pick up by snatching’. These are all Bengali terms. It is/had been a long-necked, having medium long beak and legs like a field crane. It was found to snatch up their food from the mud just after laddering of the paddy field for transplanting. The bird I mention is quite similar like this bird hereunder but the red color design around the neck is not found ! This is the major difference.

grey crowned crane on green grass field during daytime

Courtesy :

The bird had been heavy weighing about 3 – 4 kilograms. It would choose an open undisturbed meadow as its feeding place as it would take time to fly up, thus having the risk of being hunted down by jackals, dogs and even human beings.   The bird is not so frequently seen nowadays. 

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Concrete Vis-à-vis Mud Houses

Housing has a lot to do with what we feel about global warming as we live in a mud house or a brick house ! We are in a vicious cycle when we live in a brick house! The burnt bricks along with plastered cement, the cemented floor make the house a virtual furnace in the summer months where the temperature goes up ta an average of 40-42 degree centigrade, even to 48.3 degrees ! This makes the pucca or brick-built houses to almost compulsorily go for electric connection to run electric fan to cool themselves ( residents) off from the temperature inside their houses!

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Mud-built thatched house


Kerala home construction structure site, home building progress with natural bricks chenkallu and concrete

                         Brick-built House

The temperature inside the brick-built houses has a spiraling effect where the elements of a bricked house like burnt bricks, cement, sands, iron are good conductor of heat. So the brick-built houses are cold in winter and hot in summer months as per their surrounding temperature ! But their mud-built (counterparts) houses are just the opposite and very comfortable as they can stand distinguished from their surrounding temperature! 

The problems with mud houses are that they should be kept away from inundation or surroundings with abundant water for the obvious reason that dry mud walls get softened and diluted with water. To overcome this the mud houses are made on raised grounds with well water drainage condition around them. Apart from this, rat, white ants and snake infestation can well be there. To keep these under control the floors of mud houses are nowadays plastered with sand and cement. The mud walls are also plastered with sand and cement to fight these problems and increase longevity.

Nowadays it is difficult to get expert skilled artisans who are expert/adept in raising mud walls. It requires hard work to collect soil, make mud doughs.

The major advantage of thatched mud houses are that they are low-cost, made out of local easily available resource like mud, paddy straw, bamboo slices and coconut rope (coir-rope).