Catching frigate birds

The monsoon season- for Fuvahmulah- attracts thousands of Frigate birds or locally knows as huraa. These birds have long wings, a streamlined shape and low weight give it great maneuverability in the air. Flocks of huraa would hover the tall coconut trees on the beach. The predators silently glide in the air stay for their prey. When flying fish (locally known as hulhanmaha) takes off from the reef front, the frigates dive towards the sea like rockets fired from  the sky. At the same time people also run around to collect hulhanmaha.

Apart from indulging in collecting hulhnamaha, some people are attracted to the extraordinary skills of elderly men involved in catching these big birds.

Huraavedaa meehun, people who catch friagate birds, carrying a long bamboo pole climb up some coconut trees that are exclusively used for this purpose. The pole has a string, similar to a fishing line, attached at the top of the pole.  The powerful string is around 3 times the length of the pole. And a weight or locally known as bari, is fixed at the end of the string.

The specialist men hide at the top of the coconut tree. They wait till a huraa hovers relatively close (around 10 to 20 ft) to the top of the palm tree they are hiding. When a huraa enters the aerial territory of the specialist, they would swirl the pole. Within seconds, the string will be tangled around wings of the bird.


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