Thursday, April 3, 2014

Organized Gangs of Parrots Ravage Guyana

Copied here in its entirety, this article, titled Pomeroon farmers battle parrot, flea invasion, written by Indrawattie Natram, appeared in the March 27, 2014 edition of Guyana Times (The Beacon of Truth). The article is subtitled Asking for guns to keep the birds away.

Carambola Fruit destroyed by the marauding parrots

Amid bitter complaints from rice farmers on the Essequibo Coast about low paddy prices, Pomeroon fruit farmers are up in arms over a parrot and fly invasion of their carambola crops. Cash crop farmers who cultivate carambola in the Lower and Upper Pomeroon River are calling on the Region Two authorities to stave off the attack. According to reports, the pests have been wreaking havoc on the trees for the past month, and came at a time when they were blossoming. One Hackney Canal farmer, Boyan (only name given) explained that the parrots in flock would destroy the leaves and fruits of the trees. Another farmer from Upper Pomeroon, John Williams said the parrots seem bent on not allowing the trees to produce. Williams said the parrots usually inhabit the trees at nights and by morning, the fruits are destroyed, and this is not all. He said the birds appear fixed on making his life miserable as they would make loud and annoying chattering sounds, and as soon as he peeps at his window, they will fly way. Some farmers have been using sling-shots and arrows and bows to stave off the birds, but they say this is not enough, contenting that guns will do a better job. And, on this note, they are calling on the Agriculture Ministry to support their case, with some saying that scaring away the parrots is not enough, as they should be killed and cooked. Region Two Vice Chairman Vishnu Samaroo recently in his report to the Regional Democratic Council, acknowledged the parrot invasion, while calling for urgent counter measures. He said the mischief of the birds has invited swarms of fleas, feasting on the fruits destroyed by the parrots. According to Samaroo, a National Agriculture Research Extension Institute (NAREI) field officer visited several affected farmers and advised on how they should get rid of the fleas. Pomeroon farmers usually harvest thousands of carambola, which they vend at the Charity Market. The fruits are harvested manually by farmers. Some farmers preserve the fruit and use it for cake mix. Carambola cultivation is prevalent in the Pomeroon River and is a main source of livelihood for many there.

The angst. The drama. The visuals. The makings of an epic Greek tragedy. We've got rampaging parrots. We've got flies. We've got embattled farmers fighting off rampaging parrots with bows and arrows, begging their government for guns to defend themselves. And it all must be true, because the Guyana Times advertises itself as The Beacon of Truth! Of course, we're rooting for the parrots.

The parrots of Guyana are not identified, so we can only guess at the species they are. But they are so nefarious, we would think Goffin's cockatoos if this was Australia. Having a Goffin's cockatoo we know what juvenile delinquents they are. We can only imagine the destruction an entire flock of Goffin's cockatoos could wreck.

But this is Guyana. No Goffin's cockatoos native to Guyana that we know of. Twenty-eight species of parrots have been recorded in Guyana, ranging from macaws to Amazons to various parrotlets and parakeets. If we had to guess we would guess Amazon parrots because we know from experience how loud and intimidating Amazons can be. Whatever species of parrot, they were intent on making the life of one farmer, John Williams:

miserable as they would make loud and annoying chattering sounds, and as soon as he peeps at his window, they will fly way.

The rampaging parrots were even driving the besieged farmers to petition the government to allow the parrots to be killed and cooked! Under this pressure government ministers responded to the national crisis:

Vice Chairman Vishnu Samaroo recently in his report to the Regional Democratic Council, acknowledged the parrot invasion, while calling for urgent counter measures.

And if the parrots weren't making life for Guyanese carambola farmers hard enough, the:

mischief of the birds has invited swarms of fleas, feasting on the fruits destroyed by the parrots.

Birds. And parrots. And flies. Oh my. Unfortunately we'll have to wait for the sequel to this article to learn just what the counter measures are, and how effective, since these counter measure aren't addressed in the article. Machine guns? Catapults? Cooking pots? Aerial bombardment? We don't know. But we're betting on the organized gangs of rampaging parrots to continue making life miserable in Guyana.
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