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Eagle is dead?

What can be the reason behind its extinction, only experts would know
11:46 PM Jan 12, 2024 IST | IQBAL AHMAD
eagle is dead
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Wildlife experts may believe it or not but local people have been experiencing a decrease in eagle population of this land. Most of the village people feel that the eagle species, which once were very commonly seen here, have  almost disappeared, and only few of its varieties are rarely cited anywhere.

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These people have not counted them and made any censes of the eagle species. What they feel they have been observing it by their experience. Once they have been encountering folks of this wild bird within their home courtyards, but nowadays this bird is hardly cited, even in more  distant and for off lands. They claim that for last several years they have not seen the large flocks of this spice.

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Since the eagle used to be a resident bird of this glorious valley and we could see them flying in large  flocks over  our fields  but days we see very few kinds of  eagles flying over these field.’, says Abdul Rahman Dar who runs his poultry form. “I do not know what actually had happened to them, have they turned extinct or have these also migrated to other lands”, adds Ab Rahman. Ab Rashid sheikh who has his hobby to pet the pigeons and chickens has also got the same view. He says, “earlier my chickens were often afraid of eagle that used to make prey of them in the broad day light but for lost several years I am a bit relaxed because it is now rarely that when we have  to make noise to save our chicken from the jaws of the Eagle”.

Generally speaking, I myself have been observing less and less eagles in my localities. Indeed there are more folks of wild crows and pigeons, but the eagles have decreased considerably. I do not know what fauna experts have to say, and is there any mapping or counting of eagles available anywhere.

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In fact in olden times there were local and mini traditional poultry forms usually attached with village house and majority of the households teamed chickens in their house courtyards. These were local birds called usually desi or kashmeri kuker and places where these birds were teamed was called locally mour - Pen. It was during late winters that hens used to hatch eggs and it was almost within three weeks the chickens were born  and in the gloomy springs the chickens were seen playing with their mothers in open fields. The colorful folks of chickens with hens woul;d add colour to village life.   The little chickens also used to enjoy the pleasant springs with their families. Usually these chickens moved freely but they had a fear from flying eagles.  Who often made prey of them that too in broad day light. The chickens were afraid of these flying eagles.  Whenever they saw an eagle, they would raise hue and cry and would run fast to safer places, to save their selves from falling prey to these wild folks.

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Eagle is believed as the resident species of the valley, which was found so commonly. The chicken feeders that traditionally used to be the village woman had always to be alert to guard their chicken from falling prey to the flying eagles. While citing the eagles flying towards the little chickens these women would also raise their cry locally called Haul Houl, and would thus save them from flying eagles.

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The natural history of this land reveals that the valley of Kashmir in view of its pleasant climate served as the most popular habitat for different types of wild birds, which included the local resident and immigrant birds.

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There once existed different varieties of eagles in Kashmir valley. The studies undertaken by ancient fauna experts say that in Kashmir valley five varieties of this spices existed, which included  the fishing eagle, common eagle, steppe eagle, crested serpent eagle and white beaked eagle. These varieties had been commonly found in the valley lands and almost all these varieties were cited flying over the village and wetlands of this valley.  There are several stuffs of these different varieties of this species found in the natural history gallery of SPS Museum Srinagar. These stuffs included the stuffs of fishing eagle, common eagle, steppe eagle, crested serpent eagle and white beaked eagle. The stuffs of these varieties of eagles also serve as the evidence for existence of these varieties of eagles in valley lands.

It is pertinent to mention here that in olden times not only eagle but its feathers were also very popular among local writers. They used to write with eagle feather. To write with eagle feathers was considered as good fortune, so most of ancient writers would prefer to write with eagle that.

But today things look quite different, most of the kinds of this bird are hardly cited anywhere in the valley lands, which means few of the varieties of this spices have been on verge of its extinction.

What can be the reason behind its extinction, only fauna experts would know.  But it is fact most of the varieties of this spices have already disappeared from their traditional habitats.

Iqbal Ahmad, senior archaeologist and author

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