Do Only Humans Love Their Children?
20 Nov, 2005
- But what about birds and animals? Are they as capable, as humans are, of loving their chicks and litters? Do birds and animals expect, as we humans do, their chicks and litters to reciprocate their parents' love and affection after they have grown up?
I have spent many years trying to find answers to these questions. I have read a number of books on animal behavior and scanned many publications for articles that could lead me to the answers. I have also spent innumerable hours watching television programs on wild animals in an attempt to find out the extent of love birds and animals possess for their chicks and litters.
A report that appeared in the science page of News Asia (Jan 11-17, 2006) ended my search. From it, I have learned that birds are, unlike we humans, selfless parents and that they rear up their chicks even by risking their own lives- a dedicative nature that cannot be found in many humans.
Birds risk their lives not because they expect their chicks [to take care of them in their old age], but because of the fact that the responsibility to take care of them is ingrained in their nature. Because of this reason, they take their motherly and fatherly duties very seriously, but without being able to announce or [publicize] what they do for their chicks to other members of their flocks.
I am reproducing hereunder an article that introduces us to the motherly love a species of bird holds for its chicks. I hope it would dispel a myth or a misunderstanding that we hold about us and our so-called human qualities.
Bird Flies 2,500 miles for baby's food.
Talk about a working mother. A Christmas Island frigate bird named Lydia recently made a nonstop journey for just over 26 days and covering nearly 2,500 miles across Indonesian volcanoes and some of Asian's busiest shipping lanes in search of food for her baby.
The trip, tracked with a global positioning device by scientists at Christmas Island National Park, is by far the longest known nonstop journey by one of these critically endangered seabirds. Previously, the black-and-white scavengers with distinctive pink beaks and wingspans of up to 8 feet were known only to fly a few hundred miles from their nesting sites, staying away just for a few days at a time, officials said. "It's a real revelation", said David James, coordinator of biodiversity monitoring for Christmas Island National Park, the birds' only known breeding ground. "The thing that really surprised me is that it was a long, nonstop journey, and that she crossed overland volcanoes," James said. [Normally, you would expect the seabirds to fly over the sea.
Lydia's trip started Oct. 18 from Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean about 310 miles south of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, and 1,600 miles northwest of Perth, in western Australia.
Leaving a baby chick in the care of her partner, Lydia headed south over open waters probably to steal fish from other seabirds, a common habit among the frigate birds.
She then circled back on Oct. 26 and flew between Indonesia's Java and Sumatra islands. From there, she headed across Borneo island on Nov. 9 before back over Java and returning on Nov. 14 to her nesting site, where she likely regurgitated a meal for her chick].
Are we humans as good and loving- to our children as the frigate bird has proved itself to be? If, not, then what right do we have to designate ourselves as the lone [Ashraful Mukhlooqat], the best creature, among all the living creatures of our earth?