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agriculture

Disappearance of Vulture !

Disappearance of Vulture !

Disappearance of vulture s one of the most important aspect of degenerating environment around us today ! This is one of our childhood memories as well. This is a magnificent bird species, very beautiful as well except its neck areas where the its feathers are generally shredded always making it ugly-looking in the ling run and dreadful as well !

Image result for vulture images getty images

Their eyesight is very sharp. They could appear within minutes to a carcass, almost always in hordes. They would stalk on the ground fearlessly, even scaring dogs while competing for the dead carcasses.

Their appearance used to be considered as ominous by village people as their appearance signaled death!

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agriculture

Rampant Hybridization !

Rampant Hybridization !

Rampant hybridization of crops and livestock ! In the case of crops it is rather increasing production to feed the teeming millions!

But in the case of cat fish what happened ! The hybrid cat fish is made just inedible through hybridization! It is tasteless! Not only that it is in bad smell as well !

Image result for hybrid cat-fish

Copyright: ©Dmytro Synelnychenko – stock.adobe.com

The feed that is fed to the hybrid cat-fish is very bad, with smashed carcasses. It is also being raised in the high drains, in dirty waters making it all the more odorous!

The is absolutely gone . Oh God save this rampant hybridizations.

There is nobody to check all these activities. There in no action from the monitoring agencies(mostly govt.). The public is also indifferent !

Cat-fish is a very highly tasteful fish species! It is unparalleled in taste. But thanks to rampant spate of hybridization, the hybrid cat-fish has been made just inedible!

Scientists should take note of this! We know that hybridization lead to greater quantity and less quality. This is true in the case of all the crops and livestock and fishes. But in the case of cat-fish it is absolutely unique!

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agriculture

Bird

Gurul bird had been a small bird of Khaira (grey-brownish) color. Weighed just around 100 grams of the size of a chick before the appearance of feathers on their body. I cannot find the good name of the bird. It’s just the local name I have mentioned above.

They used to be very swift and adept in camouflaging with the grasses and the paddy field. These birds would be particularly found during the paddy harvesting time . As the paddy straw had been of traditional varieties , the straw would be long and lodge down to the ground providing sufficient coverage for them to hide under. After the harvest they would be more visible due to lack of coverage. We would chase the bird when we would find one and it would be caught before it could hide, run away or fly away. They would rarely fly. They used to hide around in surrounding paddy fields, straw stacks or bushes.

Nowadays bushes have also vanished , the short paddy varieties and the agro-chemicals have put the last nails in their coffins.

My friend had been skilled to catch or hurt the birds by hitting them with hard earthen clods or sony materials found handy. These birds would be very tasty, as they would say. I never had tasted it. I had problems. I could not catch them. I could not come to terms with myself to catch or kill the birds. But as a child I would accompany my friend Panchu as we would roam about the fields every now and then, except within my study hours before noon and in the evening!

In those days the labourers used to have a unique method of capturing the birds. While harvesting paddy, they would cut down the paddy plants in a circular manner. For square/rectangular plot they would just finish harvesting keeping aside a corner of the plot to be harvested in the end. The birds would assemble in the corner where the paddy plants would be there yet to be harvested. The labourers would cover the top of the plants with their gamchha ( Bengali word for a thin towel or a piece of fine cloth used to be carried with specially during working time) to capture the escaping birds while flying.

 

 

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agriculture Uncategorized

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 : https://unsplash.com/@asifbaig

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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agriculture

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!

Shutterstock - PuzzlePix

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).

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agriculture

House Sparrow (chorui)

House Sparrow ( Chorui, চড়ুই in Bengali ) used to be the most common bird living in domestic areas in our locality, seen throughout Bengal. They would make their nests in the thatched houses, within the straws of the thatches.

House Sparrow (M) I IMG 7881.jpg
House Sparrow

In those days, thatched houses were very common. Nowadays thatched houses have been replaced by tin and corrugated shades driving the house sparrows out of their natural shelter.

A Partially Thatches Hose

Thatched houses were in vogue then. The indigenous paddy varieties would have longer straw suitable for thatching. The dwarf High Yielding Varieties of paddy having short length straw are not a good fit for this purpose. The High Yielding paddy straws are not also as long enduring as their traditional counterparts, as they are raised on artificial synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides making them more brittle and easily rotten down. The cattle don’t like the straw of HYVs for the same reason. Perhaps the straws of HYVs are not as tasteful as the long-straw indigenous varieties due to the same reason !

Moreover the straw thatches are to be replaced after several years and the thatching operations are to be done by some specialised people who are also on the decrease.

But the thatched houses are very comfortable unlike those made up of concrete roofs. Mud houses are also cooler in summer days and warmer in winter days. But they are being replaced for the reason that they are infested by rats and their day-to-day maintenance is somewhat difficult.

The house sparrows are losing their natural shelter and habitat as they can’t adjust and adapt in the brick-built concrete-roofed houses.

 

Categories
agriculture

Kites

The number and sub-species of kites have decreased drastically during the past 3 – 5 decades. Locally they were known in many a name. The one picture down here is not seen here, if not rarely, known as shankhachil. We used to see more often of them swooping down to catch fishes in front of us children. They used to sit atop big trees making shrill sound on seeing a prey. I used to see some black or red kite feeding young ones on a palm tree from our house. I think decreasing vegetation along with indiscriminate application of chemicals on crops have a deciding role.

Kite (Shankhachil)
Categories
agriculture

Field Cranes

Field cranes have decreased naturally in numbers as big trees species around the villages are not in sight presently where they can nest and take shelter. I could see from our house a number of cranes atop a big tree, locally known as aankar/aankor tree. This was a kind of berry tree. The tree was tall, the fruits were black, soft, juicy, the pulp transparent, the seeds were small and soft, the taste was light sweet and small was not so pleasant. It would smell the smell of raw fish. As child we would eat it, not very often. as the smell was not so good. This type of trees are not generally found nowadays. This was the only tree of such species. It had grown wild and is no more now. I have searched a lot , on Google, Wikis, on Bengali blogs spanning throughout West bengal and Bangladesh, but could not find! What a grief, what a loss, I can not express in words! Can any botanist help? This had been the single tree in our village. Every villagers knew what were the major trees in the village with mango trees being most common.

white crane on grassy field during sunny day - white crane bird stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images
Cranes

One important aspect is that there had been a particular type of call of the cranes when they would sit atop the tree which the villagers used to identify as the sign of inviting the rains to come. And it would happen, they villagers used to believe.

Categories
agriculture

Great Loss in Biodiversity

Great Loss in Biodiversity

Use of chemicals in agriculture has led to a great loss in biodiversity without any pinch of doubt ! My mind lives in those golden days, what I saw in my childhood days ! The cacophony of so-called modern world has outpaced the serene pristine world where peace, happiness and tranquility prevails over the world of fast hefty competitiveness and consumerism. Where we are have yielded before a lifeless mechanical chemical-dependent system which ruthlessly neglects the very near and far future in its fragile target to assure the food need of today and tomorrow only, not beyond that. And that food is vitiated, polluted, poisoned, not nourishment in true sense !

The present agriculture production system brazenly defies the very basis of integrative bio-social ecology. The chemicals we use are , as we think, are target-specific, which they are not when it comes to their effect on actual field. Another problem is that we are not applying the package of practices of crop rearing completely, we are following partially. The farmers are at a receiving end. They can not decide on their own, they are administered. They are motivated by others. The package is not applied. Only a part or some part of the package is applied. They are advised to apply a package, but they apply the part which produce visible outcome. That ‘visible’ outcome is just a mirage, not true.

The crops consume Nitrogenous fertilizers in luxury mode. Like fast food. The leaves and stems becoming deep green, hyper-healthy looking, but tender and sappy attracting and falling easy prey to disease and pest attack. The plants are not on a ‘balanced diet’ when they are fed only with nitrogenous fertilizers, namely urea. Yes, urea is easily available, easy to buy and carry and apply and the crops jump up, but like a diabetic become vulnerable, immuno-deficient, less or lack of immunity! Because the diet is not wholesome, it is ‘partial’, with lackings in Potash, Phosphate and other macro and micronutrients as the farmers have not applied organic manures and phosphate and potassic fertilizers!

You are not applying the organic manure, phosphate and potash. So the foundation is sure to be a weak one. Then applying excessive urea over it makes the plants fragile, vulnerable. In case of deficiency symptoms we prescribe micronutrient and hormone therapy available in the market in attractive packages and plastic bottles that are company-made and sometimes from unmonitored local and regional mushrooming enterprises.

 

 

Categories
agriculture

Bird Biodiversity in Danger !

Bird Biodiversity in Danger !

Not only the earthworms have vanished from the paddy fields, but some very common creatures in the paddy fields like different types of field crabs, snails have also vanished from the paddy field ecology, along with the fishes. I think this is a great loss in terms of biodiversity and sources of proteins in the day-to-day diet of the villagers in general and the poorest of the poor, in particular. The villagers spanned from big farmers to small ! Extinction and/or diminution of these fishes, crabs, snails have robbed the villagers, both farmers and non-farmers ( including landless labourers ) of their livelihood and nutritional security to a great extent !

This has also led to the loss of biodiversity of birds as well in consequence to absence and/or near-absence of all these field crabs, snails, oysters (from ponds) etc. serving as food sources and resources. Field cranes (of different types), dahuks (waterhen), guruls, kites esp. sankhacheel, pankouri, baalihans, chatakpakhi, etc. (local Bengali name) have diminished a lot while nilkantho/texona, while tuntuni, vulture, babui, chorui etc. have totally vanished from our area !

It would not be irrelevant here to say something about the birds as these birds are very much related to ‘ Serene Pristine Unforgettable Agriculture’ and they are important bioindicators of the ecological condition of a particular time period. They are quite effective to control crop and plant pests as well. Most of the birds species are threatened due to their steadily decreasing habitat and so-called plant protection chemicals.


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