World Without Birds: The DONG-A ILBO
“Samguk Sagi”, or the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, features a painter called Solgeo. He painted pictures so perfectly that his work was considered divine. The historical record indicates that the pine he painted on the wall of Hwangnyongsa Temple was so lifelike with scaly stems and winding branches that birds mistook the image for a real tree and often bumped into the wall.
But on the other hand, the genius of the painter must have been a tragedy for the birds. The birds that bumped into the wall painted with the pine may have injured themselves or even died. Solgeo’s paintings were an unfortunate event for them. A long time has passed since then. Countless birds are killed by bumping into structures that humans have built. He can no longer be called “unhappy”. Each year, some 8 million birds are killed in Korea and a large number of birds ranging from 100 million to one billion are culled in the United States. Elements that did not exist at the time of Solgeo such as glazed windows and walls and soundproof walls are attributable.
This “retouching” may be the kind of work humans should be doing to save the hundreds of millions of birds that are killed each year. The amendment to the “Law on the protection and control of wildlife” adopted during the plenary session of the National Assembly last month reinforces these “tweaks”. One example is that the law requires the affixing of conspicuous stickers to the glass walls of buildings to prevent birds from colliding, just as monks did in ancient times. Any measure that can save our feathered friends can be welcome. American ornithologist Roger Peterson once said that “birds are an ecological roadmap”. That is why saving the life of birds is no longer an indispensable option for humans.