The common love-bird, passer Amare, has one of the widest distribution-ranges of any known animal, except maybe homo sapiens. Bright pink of color, it can easily be identified when displaying its mating-gown.
During other seasons, however, its feathers can have a vide variety of colors, making it a veritable chameleon of the avian world. From the deepest black to the dullest brown, the love-bird can live in any environment, blending in perfectly with the local bird-species. New findings suggest it can even change shape, but definite proof has to be obtained.
Many a scientist has thought he knew the answer behind the secrets of the love-bird. Yet it is precisely when we think that we understand this mysterious creature that, with a whimsical flip of its wing, it surprises us anew.
In ancient religions, the love-birds often were the subjects of cults and rituals, some of which have survived up until today. The Easter-eggs, for example, are thought to have originally represented the eggs of a love-bird. A symbol of fertility and abundance, the eggs were supposed to cause a bountiful harvest, and strong children.
Another old custom was abandoned in 1817, when the last free members of the Kirara-tribe left their forest-homes to live in the settlements established on the chopped-down remains of their ancient hunting-grounds. The Kirara tribe stopped all their ancient customs once they left their forest, and much of the history of this scarcely-known tribe has been lost. Buz some eye-witness accounts of early anthropologists in the region still exist. Despite the colonialist views perpetrated in those documents, they still give us a valuable insight into Kirara culture.
One of them,Dr. Van Kraut, of the Amsterdam University of Birdology, wrote this fascinating entry in the journal he kept while visiting the Futch colonies, in 1654:
“The Kirara, savages as they are, nonetheless observe predictable rituals at regular intervals of time, showing some primitive form of organization. The most important one, I have been told, is the “festival of the bird”. It is celebrated every year, after the first Yellow Crabs have been caught in the underwater caves of the region. Luckily, I happened to be near the village at just such a time.
Cheering and shouting, the savages paraded their catch through the muddy square in the middle of their hut-circle. Then they deposited it on the ground, and their “medecine-man” broke it open with his stick. Contrary to the other villagers, whom were all half-naked, the “medicine-man” was wearing richly embroidered robes, hung with stones and feathers and fangs.
Once the shell of the crab was broken, and its tender insides exposed, the villagers retreated into the shadows and held their breath.
After what must have been almost half an hour, a small bird of the passer genus landed on the crab. At first I thought it was just a regular bird, but soon I noticed the faint pink hues in its feathers, and I became certain that it was one of the legendary love-birds. It looked around curiously for a few seconds, and then started pecking at the crab’s flesh.
After the bird had swallowed his first bite, the villagers run towards the square, yelling and cheering again, and the bird took off. After that, they cooked the giant crab in a pot, and each of them partook of its flesh.”
Van Kraut goes on to describe the ritual in more detail, but even from this passage, it is clear that the love-birds held a very important position within the Kirara’s mythology.
Another thing worth noting is that Dr. Van Kraut refers to the love-bird as a “legendary” animal, although they are some of the most well-known birds in the world today. It seems that at that time, in the western world the bird was known only through third-person accounts. Some attribute this to it’s amazing camouflaging abilities, while others say this proves that the love-birds have suffered partial extinction throughout their history, disappearing and reappearing for reasons unknown.
Despite its renown and its amazing ability to adapt, it seems that the love-bird populations are facing a similar challenge today. Without any discernable cause, it seems the love-birds are being affected by an unknown disease. Despite their population remaining stable, the individuals have become more sickly, and their vivid pink seems to dull from year to year.
No one knows what is afflicting these marvelous creatures, and it is imperious that we discover the cause, and act now, lest these beautiful animals disappear before our very eyes.
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