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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Sri Azhagiya Singar Hamsa vahanam 2021

Humans have been endlessly fascinated and yet puzzled by the mysterious seasonal emergence and disappearance of birds. Birds are very interesting and affable.  Though one may see some nests, how birds sleep, how do they get their food, how they raise their family, how do they live and stave off their predators are all mysterious.  Birds migrate across continents.  Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Migration carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, and is driven primarily by availability of food.   

As many as 23,921 birds belonging to 137 species were spotted in the fifth annual Kudankulam Bird Count (KKBC) conducted by The Pelican Nature Club of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) on Sunday. Forty nine bird enthusiasts participated in the one-day count covering 25 birding spots in a 50km radius of Kudankulam. The results for the count were released on Thursday.

Away, the  world’s oldest known wild bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, turned 70 this year. On Feb 1, 2021, she reared what is known to be at least her 40th chick. The bird hatched the baby on the Midway Atoll in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean. The feat has aroused interest in the minds of researchers as it has stretched the boundaries of human knowledge of how birds live. Back in the year 1956, Wisdom was found by scientists and was estimated to be of age 5. It happens to be the earliest time when albatrosses can reach sexual maturity. It was then that scientists attached a red identifying ankle band for the first time to Wisdom.

As perHonolulu Star Advertiser, she may be a little older than 70 now and has outlived the researcher who banded her for the first time. The Midway Atoll where the new chick was hatched last month is a tiny scrap of land, about 1,300 miles northwest of Hawaii. Since her vitals were first recorded when she was 5, Wisdom hasn’t stopped laying eggs. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the septuagenarian seabird has been raising chicks with her mate, named Akeakamai, since at least 2010. Laysan albatross are typically believed to partner up for life, but given Wisdom’s longevity, she had to find several new companions after she outlived her former mates.  Wisdom returned to the atoll in late November and wildlife officials anticipated it to be an exciting arrival. They believed that she might reach a milestone on her birthday and rear another chick. Until the early 21st century, scientists thought that Laysan albatrosses can live a maximum age of around 40-years-old. However, Wisdom has rewritten history in natural books.

On  third day of   Special Brahmothsavam of Sri Azhagiya Singar  Emperuman this day (4.3.2021)) – it is Garuda vahanam in the morning and  ‘Hamsa Vahanam’ in the evening.  The Thiruvallikkeni Hamsa vahanam is one of the heaviest among the vahanams.  The bird Hamsa  is known for its purity and powers.  Thirumangai Mannan in his ‘Thirunedunthandagam’ draws a reference to the Hamsa bird.  

The hamsa ( हंस)  is an aquatic bird of passage, which  in modern parlance has been  interpreted as the goose, the swan,  or even the flamingo.   In Greek mythology, Zeus king of the Olympian gods takes the form of a swan to seduce a beautiful princess Leda.  In Irish mythology it was said that swans which flew in the sky by day were actually beautiful women at night. They would remove their swan suits and bathe in forest ponds. The Hamsa, vahanam  of Lord Saraswathi  is a familiar leitmotif in Indian art, literature, sculpture and textiles. It is an aquatic bird that resembles a goose or a swan. It is reputed to eat pearls and to be able to separate milk from water and drink only pure milk.  The Hamsa represents the perfect  harmony between spirituality and life.  Hamsam is attributed qualities of  purity, detachment, divine knowledge, cosmic breath (prana) and highest spiritual accomplishment.  

Water birds separate good water from the bad water. They have a sieve like structure (lamellae) in its mouth which separates water from mud. Probably this is what leads to the belief that Swans can separate milk from water and drink only milk, or perhaps they really can. In Sanskrit Ksheera means milk and pure water. Here are some photos of Sri Thelliya Singa Perumal in Hamsa vahanam. 

~adiyen Srinivasadhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar


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