The Jatinga mass bird suicide has been a rising phenomena in the small village in Assam, residing in India. During the monsoon months of September through to November every year, the local birds gather to commit suicide in the early to late hours of the night.
This kind of behavior in the species is unheard of.
While there are some kinds of birds known to be “suicidal,” the ones in Jatinga are not. Not only this, but this particular species of bird tends to return to their nests to sleep as soon as the sun sets.
These known facts have lead many people to believe that evil spirits have taken over the birds and forced them to commit such actions.
The Science Angle
It has been proven by scientific experiments, however, that the birds are merely disoriented by the thick fog caused by moonless nights, as a result of the reoccurring monsoons.
The brightness from the city’s search lights attract them to the village, causing them to smash head first into structures, leaving many of them seriously injured and easy prey for other animals and villagers, or killing them from the collision.
It has also been noted that the birds only come to the one specific location (only about a mile in length), and efforts have been made to attract them elsewhere to no avail.
It has been noted by scientist’s discoveries that many of the “suicidal birds” lose their natural habitats during the monsoons, and are simply looking for sanctuary elsewhere, Jatinga being their number one goal.
It still hasn’t been discovered why the birds choose Jatinga as their new home, prefer to fly at night, or why they get trapped by choice in their efforts to find freedom.
“Avian harakiri,” as many locals call the phenomenon, led the original inhabitants (the Jeme Naga) in the 1900’s away from their lands due to the disturbing sights and fear it brought them, believing it was the work of demons.
Originally, when the newer residents of Jatinga arrived, they would use large bamboo sticks to scare the stray cattle away, only to discover the bird phenomenon.
Thus, they believed it to be the work of God.
Many are thankful for it, for it gives poorer families food in a desperate time of need.
Not only that, but the birds have been claimed to be quite delicious, and inhabitants of Jatinga make great efforts to attract the birds themselves with bright lights around their homes.
Rather than hiding to avoid the strange occurrences, they go out with large bamboo sticks to catch the birds as quickly as possible to avoid the surviving ones from escaping.
It has been known, however, that these birds put little to no effort to fight back when being pursued by predators. It’s probably due to the force of the collision, causing them to become disoriented and dazed from the impact.
Other people, specifically ornithologists, believe that there is a connection between the strange bird activities and the electro-magnetic energy of the area surrounding Jatinga, though these accusations have not been proven.
The Jatinga Festival, which began in late 2010, has encouraged tourists to visit the village. Since then, it has grown into a famous spot worldwide to view the Jatinga mass bird suicide, and many look forward to the strange phenomenon as a one-of-a-kind experience.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much mourning going on for the loss of the creatures. District attorneys in Jatinga created the festival to decrease the amount of birds being killed by villagers, and with the help of wildlife officials, the death rate of the birds has decreased by over 40% to date.
Kulendra Daulagupu, a highly revered member of the festival organizing committee, stated just before the first held festival, that it would attempt to regain paradise lost, spread the message of communal harmony, sustain peace and tranquility, promote emotional integration, remove despair from the people, and ultimately open the opportunity for tourism traffic that would help the village grow.
The festival has definitely proven to help the village find a place on the map. While the amount of birds has decreased dramatically over the last few decades, there still isn’t much factual evidence to prove what causes this or why these poor creatures suffer the fate of the Jatinga mass bird suicide.