Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baghdad Update 2

There are birds in the Middle East, no doubt. But are there birds in Baghdad? Not many, to be honest. I've seen just a handful of species (see posts below), to which I can now proudly add the very rare (not!) Hooded Crow.

I've astutely narrowed down the lack of avian diversity I've encountered to three possible explanations:

1) All the cool birds have fled, because Iraq has been at war (1980-89, 1991, 1998, etc.); has been under brutal UN economic sanctions (1991-2003); and has gone through an invasion, occupation, insurgency and sectarian strife (2003-present).

2) There are really cool birds here, I just haven't seem them. Due to security restrictions, my movements are limited to leaving the hotel only for specific purposes, ie., to interviews, to press conferences or events within the protected "Green Zone"; or a brief bit of shopping. Lingering anywhere too long is verboten.

3) It's winter. All the migrants have passed through on their way to Africa and Asia to wait out the cold months, and only the boring old birds are left. (Sorry doves, pigeons and crows).

Not sure which is correct. I'm hoping to head north to the Kurdish regions of Iraq next week. The terrain is quite different, higher altitude and cooler. Maybe there are birds there. Birds of Kurdistan anyone?

P.S. - Gee do I miss the BETTER half of Birdcouple.



Nervous Birds said...

Be careful there looking for rarities... just enjoy the beauty of whatever avian creature comes your way.

Safe travels and wishing you superb bird sightings.

Chris Petrak said...

Reason 3 applies in VT, alto I do think some of the winter birds are cool - yet another reason might simply be the urban wilderness - I don't see much variety when in the inner city of Philly. As to 1 & 2, you just have to ache for the people caught in such situations, living with so much peril that they probably don't even see the absence of beauty. Stay safe.