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THE RED BOOK OF ENDANGERED SPECIES

Olya Stoyanova

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He can name about one hundred kinds of birds that have become extinct in the last two hundred years. And he knows the estimates: about 15% of the currently existing birds will disappear in the next one hundred years. He knows why as well.

He is a 33 year-old bachelor, specializing in the ecology of the Ferruginous Duck and the Common Pochard during their mating season. He works at the experimental lab responsible for the birds habitat near the village of Nova Cherna, Tutrakan district, Silistra county. Sometimes, when tired of watching the birds, he asks himself if he is one of the endangered species too.

He is not unique, though. He knows other species will disappear too. Like his mother, the Eurasian Coot, helpless before the gulls,who take her spoils right under her nose. His father, the Western Marsh Harrier, has no chances of survival either - he looks formidable and dangerous, like true bird of prey, but really feeds himself with frogs and insects. He rarely puts his beak down in the shallows, hunting fish - just too lazy.

But his sister is different. She is a Common Spoonbill - all dressed up, yet simple to the point of vulgarity. She likes attracting eyes to herself. She migrates in small flocks, she uses short, precise sentences on the phone: 'Just landed in Cyprus' or 'We are flying to Italy'. Such briefs tell him that life could be easier and better.

He thinks of himself as an Egyptian Vulture. What else, since his biggest plans are about receiving an inheritance from his grandparents. So what of it if Egyptian Vultures are highly intelligent? The numbers of nesting pairs decreased dangerously in recent years. He has no chance of building a nest of his own on the salary of a young scientist. There is no one around him - the last female happened to be a migrant bird, quickly flying away to warmer climes. To Spain, to be precise. When he feels depressed, he thinks of what an exotic bird he is in this latitude. He desires to flap his wings and fly elsewhere, anywhere. Just like that, to fly away. But... he cannot. He is not that kind of a bird, birds like him will simply disappear. He knows the statistics: 15% of the birds existing today will become extinct in the next one hundred years.

 

 

© Olya Stoyanova
© Vesselin Vesselinov, Craig Hasbrouck - translated from bulgarian
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© E-magazine LiterNet, 01.09.2011, № 9 (142)