Pet birds are an important part of Indian culture. Old Indian folktales and stories are filled with famous rare birds in courts and royal families long ago. Today, the birds make popular pets, and they are good-luck charms at weddings and other celebrations- where they’re released into the air.
In Indian markets, dyed birds of all species can be found all over. Some traders will add a little bit of catechu, a brown dye from a tree, on the bird’s shoulder feathers to make it resemble an expensive bird, the “Alexandrine parakeet.” Traders may also paint the parakeet’s head orange, and sell it as an imported exotic bird. Dyes that are used are shoe polish, lamp powder, spray paint, oil, food coloring, and more.
Trappers often use cruel methods to capture birds, such as spreading glue onto branches and using insects or bird decoys as bait.
For the past 25 years, a large ban on the sale and export of native Indian birds has been in place. Although, the trade-monitoring group known as “TRAFFIC” has reported that now, nearly half of all Indian native bird species are for sale in domestic and international markets.
Currently, India hopes to monitor bird traders with an increase in surveillance and more law enforcement at local markets to protect the bird species.