In the heart of the coastal city of Da Nang, the image of thousands of pigeons flying in the blue sky and
DA NANG – On a stormy day, Mr. Le Minh Hai went from the street to the East Sea Park, climbed onto the pigeon cages tied for sure.
Only when the birds were safe did he feel secure to find shelter from the storm. But then there were also damaged aviaries and many lost birds blown by the wind and storms, and Mr. Hai was pitiful and pitiful. For 11 years now, the 55-year-old man, with brown skin and short stature, has considered the birds as his relatives.
At 6 o’clock every day, Mr. Hai rides a motorbike 10 km from his home in Lien Chieu district to Bien Dong park at the end of Pham Van Dong Street and Vo Nguyen Giap Street in Son Tra district. The first job is to check if the pigeons have been stolen, attacked by other animals, or sick to help them.
At 7:30 a.m., he carried a bucket of food consisting of rice, corn, and green beans mixed to the park in front of the sea, blowing a few whistles. Hearing the familiar “tweak, tweed” sound, the birds flew to cover an area of the sky and then rushed to the brick floor, competing to eat.
“Their meals must always be on time to become a habit and good for health,” explained Mr. Hai. Taking advantage of the time when the birds ate, he counted 1,070 birds to rest assured that “no one will be lost”.
Many young couples take advantage of the time when the birds eat to take pictures. Mr. Hai enthusiastically supports by feeding the birds in batches or spreading the food in a place with beautiful scenery. A photographer came late, secretly took food to bring the birds down again, Mr. Hai sternly reminded.
Usually, Mr. Hai will buy breakfast on the spot and drink coffee next to the bird garden to take care of; mix preventive medicine and vitamin C into two jars for birds to drink; Near noon, pour water into two tanks in the garden below the cage for the birds to bathe…
At exactly 16:30, the sound of “tweak, tweet” sounded again. Some people came to borrow the iron whistle from Mr. Hai, but blowing for dozens of hours, only a few birds came. “The birds are used to my whistle,” Mr. Hai said, sharing that he signaled to the birds by blowing a long whistle, then gradually interrupting the rhythm.
On holidays and Tet, Mr. Hai did not dare to rest, because he heard the strange whistle, the birds refused to come down to eat, and were hungry. On the first day of the Lunar New Year, Mr. Hai was at the bird garden at 6 o’clock, feeding them a little earlier, driving 40 km by car to his hometown at Thang Binh, Quang Nam province, visiting his paternal and maternal families, and then showing up again late in the afternoon. in East Sea Park. When the birds flocked to the nest, he went home.
The Peace Bird Garden in East Sea Park was formed in 2009, when the Management Board of Son Tra peninsula and Da Nang tourist beaches asked the City People’s Committee for investment to create highlights for tourists such as some squares. in Europe. The Management Board invested VND 30 million in building 5 concrete pillars, above which a wooden barn was placed; bought 200 breeding pigeons, including French hybrid pigeons, but only pigeons can adapt to the hot sun and sea breeze. They then multiply, at most 1,500 birds, of which more than 800 are males.
In 2010, Mr. Hai quit his job at the Da Nang Veterinary Sub-Department and was introduced by an acquaintance to the Son Tra Peninsula Management Board and tourist beaches. Thanks to his intermediate expertise in animal husbandry and a veterinarian (undergraduate program in Quang Nam), he takes care of pigeons with a monthly salary of more than 6 million dongs. “Study at school is mainly about diseases, not about taking care of birds. I have to study the behavior of the species, common diseases to treat…”, he recalls.
Pigeons have the ability to remember the path very well, once used to deliver mail. Mr. Hai tried three times by catching 5-10 fish, tying colored cloth to his feet as a sign of identification, and bringing them to Linh Ung pagoda on Son Tra peninsula about 8 km from the park to release. Riding his motorbike to the aviary, he saw them fly back. “Only birds are blown away by the wind and storms. If someone feeds them, they will stay. Many flocks of birds in the city are birds from the East Sea Park bird garden,” Mr. Hai said.
Sticking with the birds all day, Mr. Hai caught their diseases very quickly through observing their gait, call, stool color… Seeing the unusually large neck, he immediately knew he was overeating. Birds ate too much bread because some people who came to play and took pictures threw them. He immediately used a tool to prick the small wound on the kite, squeeze out the food, disinfect it, sprinkle it with antibiotics, and sew it up.
The bird, unfortunately, had a broken leg, broken wing due to a car hit, Mr. Hai brought it back to the garden, used small wooden sticks with ice cream sticks to fix the broken bone, locked the bird in a separate cage to take care of them until they recovered. about the herd. The most difficult, he said, is every time the bird gets smallpox because there is currently no cure.
In the summer of 2012, he discovered that there was a weak sound of young birds in the cage, when he climbed up, he saw the bird clear but stuck next to the cage, with broken right wing and two legs. “I had to splint to fix the broken bone, put on antibiotics. The young birds couldn’t eat by themselves, so I had to chew rice to feed them. After a month, they recovered,” he said. The bird can’t fly far, but it’s very brave.
To create more highlights in the park, in 2013-2014 Mr. Hai painted grids, scattered food, and trained the birds to blow whistles to eat once to create a map, a star, etc. to make the audience excited. But because the flock of birds fluctuated, shy because every time someone went down to eat, someone approached, the training was then interrupted.
Photographer Nguyen Quang (residing in Son Tra district), who took hundreds of photos of couples with pigeons in East Sea Park, said this place is an interesting place because the dove carries the symbol of peace. Peace, love, happiness, and guests from far away to Da Nang all want to take pictures with pigeons.
“The photos that have followed tourists everywhere, from Vietnam to the US, France… are Da Nang’s way to further promote its destination, including the story of Mr. Le Minh Hai. Caring for the birds, enthusiastic with tourists. Many of my guests when they return to Vietnam mention Mr. Hai as a good memory”, Mr. Quang said.
Regarding his staff, Mr. Nguyen Duc Vu, Head of the Management Board of Son Tra Peninsula and Da Nang tourist beaches, said that Mr. Hai was hardworking, responsible, and “entrusted him to manage, take care of Our birds are very secure.” In the coming time, the Management Board will change some male birds in the flock to avoid the situation that inbreeding birds will be weak and susceptible to diseases.
Mr. Hai’s wife is a retired teacher, and his two daughters, after graduating from university, both have stable jobs at hospitals and software companies. When asked if he intended to quit his current job to enjoy his old age, Mr. Hai shook his head and said, “How can I leave my loved ones?” Follow (vnexpress)