Where have all the birds gone?

2015-04-30 14:31

FOLLOWING the devastating hailstorm last month, a strange phenomenon has occurred. All the birds seem to have disappeared.

We live in Sunnyside and have a cottage near a wooded railway property adjacent to the mainline. We used to feed birds daily - hundreds of birds - pigeons, weavers, finches, etc. But after the hailstorm we have seen hardly any birds.

Seed that previously barely lasted a few hours now remains uneaten for more than an entire week, indeed until washed away by rain.

What has happened to the birds?

Some will maintain they were killed by the hail, and while this is possible, surely we would have come across dead birds, but is there another explanation.

During the tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004, the elephants apparently, mysteriously, being aware of impending disaster, moved up to higher ground well before the tsunami struck the coast.

In other recorded examples of animal presentiment they are alleged to be able to detect earthquakes and avalanches.

Is it possible that birds possess the same survival instinct and somehow knew that a hailstorm was about to strike Pietermaritzburg and migrated to pastures greener, or at least safer pastures?

If so, the second question relates to why haven’t they returned. Have they decided that the Pietermaritzburg region is now a no-go zone, or do they know something that we don’t - like another hailstorm is coming?

But whatever the reason, their absence is for the birds.

HENRY SPENCER

Pietermaritzburg

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