Thursday, November 4, 2010

Starting that Afghan bird list

Warren's been in Kabul since Tuesday morning, and there are *definitely* birds here. So far, my Afghanistan bird list is quite humble, a Eurasian magpie (pica pica) and the ubiquitous Rock Dove. But late this afternoon as I was getting some fresh air on the veranda, I saw this little sucker with a plain brownish belly, flicked-up tail, dark eye, and white outer tail feathers. If only I could get a better look.....

Here's an interesting and accurate (as far as I can tell) blog about birding in Kabul.

I actually saw a version of this happen today, just before my unidentified passerine friend popped in:

‘Every afternoon at around 5.00, I go to my window and look outside because I have been watching something which happens every day around this time, just before the sky turns pink and spirals of sweet smelling smoke start to appear from mud brick homes.
A man stands on a roof and starts waving a long thin red flag, giving short sharp whistles, followed by long ones. Then he waves his flag again, waits for a while and the whistling resumes.
I thought at first he must be corresponding with another person somewhere close by, but as I watched I realized he was communicating with a flock of birds.
Kabul’s pigeons are light brown in colour with bright black eyes. They are actually probably doves. A group of around ten of them suddenly appears and they begin to circle overhead, diving and soaring for a while, then come back to land beside the man on the roof.
After a few moments he shoos them away with his flag and the whole thing starts again in a frenzy of trained wings and synchronized swoops, until dusk falls and the call to prayers sounds out across rooftops in the cold evening air.’

3 comments:

Amy said...

Enjoy the pigeon magicians! Apparently, the Taliban banned pigeon fanciers: http://www.magnificentfrigatebird.com/blog/pigeon-fanciers-in-kabul-afghanistan/

Dave said...

No matter where you are, there are sure to be birds to watch!

Kathiesbirds said...

Oh my! What an account and what brings you to Kabul? Are you there specifically to record bird species? I cannot imagine what the war has done to this country.