Bharuch Rotarians rescue kite-hit birds

During the kite festival in the month of January (Makar Sankranti festival), RC Bharuch, RID 3060, joined hands with RC Bharuch Femina, Inner Wheel club, Rotaractors and Interactors to organise a special campaign titled Dheel De — Be Kind to save and rehabilitate injured birds which get tangled in the manja (glass coated) threads of kites flying high in breezy winds.

RC Bharuch president Dr Vikram Premkumar (2nd from R, front row) along with Rotarians and members of the Bharuch Running Club.
RC Bharuch president Dr Vikram Premkumar (2nd from R, front row) along with Rotarians and members of the Bharuch Running Club.

The Rotary project in support of Gujarat government’s Karuna Abhiyaan campaign saw a team of 26 volunteers working along with Dr Abhishek Patel and Dr Parth Nanda for three days (Jan 14–16) to rehabilitate the injured birds hit by the crisscrossing manja threads in the sky. “We relied on the volunteers to bring the injured birds struck by the deadly threads. A veterinary training programme was held earlier, along with a workshop on basic handling and first aid to advanced techniques in bird surgery,” said Dr Patel who operated on injured birds that were brought by volunteers from across the city.

There were also volunteers who helped in the outreach activities to spread awareness on the need to save birds from the soaring manja threads powering the kites to fly higher and higher. The outreach team managed to save most birds rescued except the ones that were badly injured. A total of 47 rescue calls were attended by the team during the camp. The injured birds included two barn owls, two painted storks (nearly threatened), one common crane (winter migratory), one squirrel, one puppy and 40 pigeons.


Injured birds being treated by veterinary doctors.
Injured birds being treated by veterinary doctors.

“Each year the number of injured birds is increasing. It is of concern that none takes responsibility. But we rescue and rehabilitate birds as much as we can with the resources available,” said Aakash Patel from the Bird Rescuers Bharuch team.


Rescue camp

A three-day bird rescue camp (Jan 14–16) was held at RC Bharuch using scientific guidelines, protocols and with the help of expert avian rescuers, rehabilitators and veterinary surgeons. “Injured birds were treated, surgeries done and the winged creatures were rehabilitated before they were released to fly back to their habitats,” said Dr Abhishek Patel.

Rotarians ran with the members of the Bharuch Running Club at the dawn of Jan 14 to let people know their bird rescue and rehabilitation campaign in advance, and also to spread awareness on their Dheel De programme. RC Bharuch president Dr Vikram Premkumar and secretary Rachana Poddar, along with club members and 25 runners from the Bharuch Running Club, ran at busy junctions to sensitise the public on the dangers to avian beings due to kite flying on Makar Sankranti days. “Seeing the injured birds spread their wings and fly again, after they were rehabilitated by the rescue team, is truly a sight to behold,” said Dr Premkumar.

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