A bird that is not welcome!

Urbanisation has dealt a severe blow to the bird population across the world. The Sultanate is no exception, with environmentalists airing concern over the loss of bird habitat.
On the other hand, a species of birds is “causing a headache” in some parts of the country, especially in Muscat, North and South Al Batinah, Al Dakhiliyah, Al Dhahirah and Dhofar, where they have been found in large numbers.
Expressing concern over the threat posed by the Mynah birds, which come from India, China, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and western Indonesia, activists have called for “urgent action to curb their spread”.
According to them, these “attractive” birds were “adversely affecting the wildlife”. They are said to be “predatory in nature” as they attack other birds, animals, and sometimes, even humans.
The Mynah birds affect the foodchain in the areas of their existence by attacking other birds’ nests and killing the young ones.
Recalling an incident, Assad, a bird lover, said there a bird’s nest near his house and he used to watch it every morning. “One day, I saw a Mynah on the nest, eating the eggs and the baby birds. It was too late to save them.”
While a Mynah is considered a farmers’ friend in their native countries for their ability to eat insects that destroy crops, in contrast, they are known for devouring fruits and agricultural produce.
They cause a lot of damage by attacking nests, hatching eggs and killing young birds, destroying crops, eating bees, and transmitting diseases, parasites and fleas to humans as well as animals.
In the places inhabited by the Mynah birds, crows are said to be absent.
Crows are known to clean beaches off dead fish. Not anymore, with the Mynah population dominating some coastal areas, affecting the wildlife, and consequently, the food chain.
The Mynah has proved to be destructive for infrastructure such as canals and pipes where they build their nests.
Environmental experts have expressed concerns over the danger posed by these birds which inhabit the peaks of high mountains such as Jabal Al Akhdar, one of the most important areas of biodiversity in the Sultanate and a natural habitat for local species of birds.
The Mynah belongs to the ‘starlings family’. It is about 22-25 cm long and its wings extend to 36.5 cm when flying. It is a medium-sized bird with a black head and yellow feet. It looks similar to a crow. They breed rapidly and live up to 25 years.

Zainab al Nassri

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