RAJSHAHI: A flock of Shamuk-khol birds (Egrets) have found a safe haven on trees at the compound of outdoor section in Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) creating a place of love to the birds.
These birds have found their sanctuary on the trees inside RMCH. An intimate and friendly bonding between the birds and the people has developed.Professor Dr Aminuzzaman Mohammad Saleh Reza of the Department of Zoology in Rajshahi University said shamuk-khol is an Asian open bill or Asian open bill stork.
The scientific name of this bird is Anastomus Oscitans. There are two species of Shamuk Khols in the world. Asian Openbill (A. Oscitans) and African Openbill (A. Lamelligerus).
Asian Openbill is a white bird with black back and wings. These birds are seen in most parts of South Asia including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. It is a large wading bird in the stork family Ciconiidae.
This distinctive stork is found mainly in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. It is grayish white with glossy black wings and tail and the adults have a gap between the arched upper mandible and recurved lower mandible.
Prof Saleh Reza said ‘shamuk khols’ had laid hundreds of eggs over the past month, some of which have already started hatching.
Afsana Habib, a resident of Seroil Colony area in Rajshahi city, who came to the hospital for her treatment, said it was really amazing to see hundreds of Shamuk-khol on the trees."The chirping of these birds soothes the mind, and the way they fly overhead adds some adventure to our rural life," she said.
Bird lover Nazmul Kamal Rony said the birds have found their safe shelter in the trees of RMCH recently after they lost their habitat following cutting down of trees adjacent to RMCH's main gate and Rajshahi Central Jail areas.
The birds go out of their nests every morning to collect food and return home by dusk. The male birds look after their young ones during the day and the female birds go away in search of food. The family reunites when the sun begins to set. This way, the young birds remain safe under the care of both male and female birds.
It was learned that the authorities as well as the patients are conscious, and they have taken various measures to ensure the peaceful living of the birds. No tree is allowed to be cut and no one is allowed to use loud speakers near the sanctuary.
Kamal Rony said many people visited the place of RMCH to watch beautiful Shamuk Khol birds. Some people come to take pictures and some visit just to watch them.
Others seeking entertainment and recreation would like to visit the Padma riverbank, but now they also come here to see the birds, he added.
He also likes to listen to the birds' chirping, which has become an important part of the local people's lives.
Mijanur Rahman, Founder of Rajshahi Save the Nature and Life, said more gardens should be created with adequate protection and security so that more migratory birds were able to come and breed without fear.