Saturday, April 13, 2013

Organized Gangs of Parrots Ravage Burma

We just love this story! This article, in its entirety, appears in The Irrawaddy, covering Burma and Southeast Asia:

Organized gangs of local parrots in Pegu Division are leading sunflower farmers to despair. In Toungoo Township, farmers are arming themselves with catapults against the birds, which are attacking their crops and eating all the seeds. “These parrots have come in flocks since the previous month and we are always guarding our plantations with catapults,” one of the farmers told state media. It appears the pilfering parrots may have a coordinated plan of attack, sending out scouting parties. “Only one or two parrots come in the morning and afternoon. But they come in flocks in the evening,” he said.


Wow! Raymond Chandler could not have penned a more crisp and succinct paragraph in the whole history of noir crime fiction. This story cries out to be illustrated with blood soaked photographs of ravenous parrot gangs. Of desperate farmers fighting back with slings and arrows and catapults. But sadly, it is not to be. So we will do our best to illustrate this story with words as we attempt to parse the true meaning of this fierce struggle between parrot gangs and desperate farmers.


What in the hell is an Irrawaddy, anyway? We Googled the term to find out that it's apparently Burma's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Okay. That works for us. Guess that's a good name for a website covering Burma and Southeast Asia.


And what's up with this Burma - Myanmar confusion? You call it Myanmar. We call it Burma. It was always Burma when we were growing up.  Just like when you say Beijing we think Peking. But we digress.


Getting back to the blood soaked battles between parrots and pirates. Sorry, parrots and farmers. What do you suppose the farmers arm their catapults with to beat off the parrot hoards? Sticks and stones? Sunflower seeds? Whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be all that effective by the tone of the article.




Oh for some photos! When we first read this article we immediately thought organized gangs of Cockatoo parrots. Goffin's Cockatoos to be precise. Gawddamn juvenile delinquents! We have one, so we know what we're talking about. But probably the wrong continent. More likely the parrots involved are Indian Ringnecks, indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Specifically the Psittacula krameri borealis, or Rose-ringed parakeet native to Burma.



By all accounts, Indian Ringneck parrots are ravaging London and the rest of Britain, so is it no wonder they are overrunning a little podunk country like Burma:


Twenty years ago we never would have encountered a story this wonderful, or bizarre, in our local newspaper. Got to love the Internets!

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