A haven for the birds

Ujjal Mehedi . Sylhet | Update:

A haven for the birdsTheir house has been a haven for birds for 22 years. They have been taking care of these birds for three generations. The house is now called ‘Pakhibari’ (Birds’ House). 

It is located in Shrirampur of Dakshin Surma upazila in Sylhet. On his death bed, the owner Habibur Rahman had asked his elder son to look after the birds.

“Never kill these birds. Don’t let other kill them either. Look after them,” he said 17 years ago.Rumen Ahmed, one of the sons of Dudu Mia, tending two baby storks that fell out of the nests due to the wind.Photo: Prothom Alo

It began one stormy night. A flock of storks took shelter on the trees around his house near the haor.

Habibur Rahman's sons and grandsons help on to his legacy after his death in 1997.

His elder son Dudu Mia carried on taking care of the birds following his father's last words. Prothom Alo published a report on Dudu Mia in 2012.

He took care of the birds for 17 years at a stretch. He died on 10 November 2014.A haven for the birds

He also instructed his sons, like his father, to continue tending to the birds. Since then, his five sons have been showing genuine love for birds for the last five years. Habibur Rahman's other sons and grandchildren also look after the birds.

The Prothom Alo correspondent went to see the Pakhibari on Saturday. The house stands on about 240 decimals of land in front of a haor (marsh). Birds of various species flock around the house. Each and every tree around the house had bird nests.A haven for the birds

According to the residents, around 15,000 to 20,000 storks are born in monsoon. Thousands of storks grew up in the house over past 15 years, they said.

The correspondent saw Rumen Ahmed, one of the sons of Dudu Mia, tending two baby storks that fell out of the nests due to the wind. He put the chicks back into the nest.

The members of the house keep updated about the chicks, the number of eggs in different nests and which bird is nested where.A haven for the birds

The storks usually leave the trees for haor after monsoon. Many local birds including parrots take shelter on the trees then.

The oldest son of late Dudu Miah, Rubel Ahmed, was talking to the correspondent near the bamboo grove where most of the storks nest.
He could not remember the exact year when the birds came to take shelter at their place. It might be during the liberation war, he said.A haven for the birds

Rubel said, "My father instructed us to love the birds in our house, just as he was told by his father. We will always take care of the birds.”

In 2012, the Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) honoured late Dudu Mia as ‘Bird Lover’ on the World Environment Day.

"There are other houses around Pakhibari. But I was surprised to see all the birds flock only at that house. Later, when I came to know of their late father, my respect for them went up to another,” said BAPA general secretary Abdul Karim Chowdhury of Sylhet.

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