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World without birds

Posted June. 08, 2022 07:54,   

Updated June. 08, 2022 07:54


"Samguk Sagi," or the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, features a painter called Solgeo. He painted pictures so perfectly that his work was considered god-like. The historical record has it that the pine tree he painted on the wall of Hwangnyongsa Temple was so lifelike with scaly stems and winding branches that birds mistook the picture for a real tree and often bumped against the wall.

But on the flip side of the story, the genius of the painter must have been a tragedy for birds. Those birds that bumped against the wall painted with the pine tree may have injured or even died. Solgeo’s paintings were an unfortunate event for them. A long time has passed since then. Countless birds are killed by bumping into the structures humans have built. It can no longer be called "unfortunate." Every year, some 8 million birds are killed in Korea and a large number of birds ranging from 100 million to a billion are terminated in the United States. Elements that did not exist in Solgeo’s time such as glass windows and walls and soundproof walls are attributable.

This "retouching" may be the kind of work humans should do to save hundreds of millions of birds that are killed every year. The amendment to the "Wild Life Protection and Control Act" that passed during the National Assembly plenary session in last month enforces such "retouching." One example is that the act obligates attachment of conspicuous stickers on the glass walls of buildings to prevent birds from colliding, just like the monks did in the ancient times. Any measure can be welcome that can save our feathered friends. American ornithologist Roger Peterson once said that "birds are an ecological litmus paper." That is why saving birds' lives is no longer a dispensable option for humans.