The Language of Birds Children

Saving mynah

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Queen Cassowary spoke to the gathering of the urgent need to save the Balinese mynah.

The story so far: Each species elects a leader or a couple to represent them in Bali.

For the birds of the Indian sub-continent, the take-off point was Meghalaya, the land of clouds. They flew in the thousands, high above the monsoon winds. When they crossed the oceans, the blue whales showed them the way to the island of Bali.

There was a long floating tunnel made of woven goose quills for those who could not fly. It was lined inside with the soft breast feathers of swans. Bar headed snow geese from Canada, Siberian cranes and storks with their long beaks held the tunnel up in slings. It was a flying caravan of birds. Smartly dressed bulbuls in black and red stood at the entrance, greeting the passengers and singing out their garbled messages of welcome.

As each contingent landed at Denpasar, the airport at Bali, there were long lines of reception committees holding up placards to direct them.

“Welcome to Parlez-vous. We speak the language of birds,” sang flying ribbons of cockatoos and parakeets from the South Americas as the visitors entered the main venue. The Master of Ceremonies was an African grey, dressed in an elegant coat-tail of grey raw silk, with a red cravat around his neck. He could speak in several different tongues.

In a shriek, a band of Australian magpies welcomed the audience. They too were great mimics. They could sing the national anthem of the different countries.

Queen’s announcement

Queen Cassowary stepped onto the stage. She held up a silver cage with her clawed foot. “Tonight, I want you to think of how to save this tiny creature, the most endangered of the mynah species — the Balinese mynah.”

As the visitors surged forward, they saw that in the cage was the most exquisite of mynahs, small and trim. She was as white as a moonbeam on a clear night. She had a long drooping crest that swept back from her forehead, black tips on her wings and tail and long kohl-rimmed eyes. Below them, her neck was bare and painted a pale opal blue. Her beak and feet were a lemon yellow.

To be continued

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 6:59:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/saving-mynah/article30251990.ece

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