Going to Ly Thanh, we saw white storks hovering over trees under a hill. Coming closer, we heard noisy sounds made by thousands of birds of many species, from storks to cranes, orioles, night herons, mynahs, mynas, etc.
Ngan helps baby birds.
Mr. Giang Dong, the guide, pointed at a man who was swimming in a lake and said: “That’s Mr. Ngan. He is saving baby storks.”
Ngan, a robust man, climbed up to the shore taking two baby storks in his hands. “A strong gust of wind at night flew these baby storks out of their nests. Come in and a second please! I have to take these storks back to their nests,” Ngan said.
Ngan’s bird sanctuary is a vast garden of perennial bamboos, cajuputs and eucalyptus. Hundreds of bird nests dangled on branches. Egg shells and bird shit covered the ground.
Asking Ngan about the history of the bird sanctuary, he said that according to his grandfather, in August 1950, a flock of storks flew to his hamlet and perched on trees. They have stayed in the hamlet since then.
According to village patriarchs, Ngan’s grandfather and father were the best guards of birds. In many years of hunger, they had to eat vegetables and cassava but they never caught birds to sell. Ngan has followed his family tradition to take care wild birds by his heart. For that reason, the bird sanctuary has been maintained until now.
The cry of orphaned birds
Ngan recalled: “Since my grandfather died, many people entered the sanctuary to shoot and trap birds at night. When I was small, I cried whenever I saw they shot birds. At the age of ten, I and my younger brother carried baskets of stones to guard the sanctuary at night to prevent them from killing birds.”
Whenever it rained or there were storms, Ngan groped his way in the dark, with a flashlight, to rescue baby birds that fell from their nests. He bandaged wounded birds and put them back to their nests the next morning. Ngan has become a doctor and a guard of birds.
After getting married and having children, Ngan has still performed this job. He placed many signs “No hunting birds” around the sanctuary. He went to each family in his hamlet to tell kids and ask parents to remind their children to not shoot birds by slings. He asked local schools to tell students that protecting wild birds is protecting the environment.
Ngan asked us to stay in the sanctuary for one night to listen to they cry of baby birds. Ngan said he tried her best but he could not stop local people from trapping or shooting birds. “The sound that you are listening is the cry of baby storks that lost their parents. I could not sleep many nights because of the cry of baby birds,” he added.
For the last 60 years, storks and other birds return to Ngan’s garden from the lunar third month until the lunar ninth month.
Ngan is planting more trees in the garden to facilitate birds from building more nests. This man has taken care of the birds for many years as predestination, without any profit.
Ngan is an example of compassion and love for the nature for the youth.
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