The Plight of the Adjutant Storks

Everyone reading my blog knows that I believe wholeheartedly that individuals can make a huge difference to our planet and to the lives of our beloved birds. You do not have to be a movie star or a business tycoon with lots of money, you just need to find ‘something’ that you feel is really important. Your belief, your dedication, and your enthusiasm will influence others if your cause is sound.

@Cornell University Bird Lab

The Hargila have the most magnificent, yet piercing blue eyes.

copyright Cornell Bird Lab

I have previously reported on the work of Dr Purnina Devi Barman of Assam, India. Dr Barman was determined to make the Adjutant Storks, known as Hargilas in Assam, important — important enough that people would stop cutting down trees, building structures on the few remaining wetlands, to help with the chicks or the adults if they were injured. She wanted to engrain the importance of these critically endangered birds whose population (50%) lives in Dadara, Assam to the people of that village. She has spent a decade fighting for the Hargila raising the numbers of nests from 28 to over 200 today.

Dr Barman was smart. After finding out what was causing a loss of population, she took that knowledge and approached the women and the children to protect these amazing birds that live in the forest canopy. She set up the Hargila Women’s Army. Her story and the plight of these amazing storks was recently captured and told by the Cornell Bird Lab in a 28 minute documentary. I have now watched it twice. It is so well done. Please do have a look and as you are watching realize that every little thing we can do to help our birds also helps us!

It is a beautiful inspiring film.

I just had to share this with you. I spent many years in India, some years more there than home. I know how difficult it is to get things done there. These women are very courageous. This is a really good documentary —–it is so well done. Thank you Cornell! I would Cornell takes those beautiful images and make it into a book on these General Adjutant Storks. Part of the proceeds could go to the Hargila Army!

Thank you for joining me! Ervie just got a fish delivery so I am happy. Take care everyone. See you soon!

If you are looking to purchase some of the items the ladies in Assam make to raise money for the education and protection of the storks, please go to Pashoo Pakshee. Their prices are in Indian rupees. The current rate is 1.70 CDN for 100 rupees.


  1. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks Mary Ann for the storks newsletter! It was interesting and I learned of some new kinds of storks here! Nice stamp and photos of them.
    I’m glad Ervie got a fish!
    Have a great night and I look forward to tomorrow’s newsletter!
    It is really something I look forward to waking up to!

    1. Oh, Linda, thank you. I am glad you learned about a new species of stork. They are incredibly beautiful and those women should be very proud of what they have done. Yes, a delivered fish. Ervie did go and catch something but it turned out it was a Leafy Sea Dragon (plant). I hope to have some new news by noonish tomorrow… some newly hatched eaglets!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. The more you look at those storks, the prettier they become. I wish they had their traditional wetlands to fish and not have to eat from garbage dumps. That is what many of the Northern European Storks are doing now – stopping in Spain and Portugal at the dump sites. So sad. Dear Ervie. He just wants the nest to himself like TTT! Have a good day, Linda.

  2. Thanks for this, Mary Ann. I’d never heard of these storks before and have saved the documentary to my watch list. Wonderful that this group of women have stood up for these birds.

    Thanks also for all the latest goings-on with the Osprey family. And hopefully there’ll be some eagle eggs hatching soon. I’ll be looking forward to your post tomorrow!

    1. It really is a ‘beautiful’ documentary. The photographer was amazing. Very smart to go to the women and the children and let the movement grow over time. So happy for them. The little one at KNF is hatching currently. You could hear it cheeping…I just hope all is well there. Fingers crossed. Hatching is hard work. Betty, you are more than welcome. We can all do something to help, no matter how small. Every little bit counts.

      1. Mary Ann, I just finished watching the amazing documentary about the storks. Wow!! A most interesting species. It’s uplifting to know they’re doing so much better now — and that their numbers have increased so much. Thanks again for sharing the link!

      2. Oh, so glad you enjoyed it, Betty. The photographer did a fantastic job providing some great visuals to show who the storks are and the women who protect them. It was my pleasure to provide that link. I have so much respect for those women – what they are doing is making a difference to the community. Birds can mean an income which might wind up being the motivating force behind many communities wanting to up their tourism dollars as well as selling merchandise and tours. Fingers crossed that energy and vision spread!

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