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The man who can talk with birds

Last update: 07:50 | 02/01/2018

VietNamNet Bridge - With a special talent of imitating songs of hundreds of bird species, Truong Cam, a forest ranger in Bach Ma National Park in Thua Thien – Hue province, is known as ‘the bird caller’.


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Truong Cam, the bird caller



Cam said his childhood and youth were associated with mountains, forests, birds and animals. Like other locals in Loc Dien commune in Phu Loc district, he went to the forests with his father to hunt for animals and fell trees to get money for rice.

His life changed on the day he was caught trapping pheasants (Rheinardia ocellata) in the forests.

With his deep knowledge about the bird species, Cam was asked to work with scientists. So he went alone to the forests and caught pheasants to study. 

In late 1985, Cam met a stranger who persuaded him to work as a forest ranger at the Bach Ma National Park and promised to let him feed birds. The stranger was Huynh Van Keo, director of the park.

Cam said the biggest difficulty in his job as forest ranger is that he has to convince people who fell trees and trap birds and animals for sale to stop their activity. However, he has tried his best to fulfill his duties. 

“I was an illegal logger and I understand what illegal loggers think. Most of them are very poor and they will abandon illegal logging if I can convince them,” he said.

Lying on a hammock swaying slightly in the old jungle of Bach Ma, he heard the singing of birds. He liked the birdsongs and tried to create similar sounds. Cam then step by step began to understand the language of the birds.

When Cam and reporters one day were on the way to visit Bach Ma Mount, they heard a pleasant birdsong. Cam reacted and put his hand on his mouth and created sounds exactly like those of the bird’s.

Cam said this was the song of Cu Roc (Megalaimidae) bird, a small species with a beautiful green color in Bach Ma.

“When they sing noisily, it will be sunny. If I call them but they don’t respond, it will be raining the next day,” he said.

Cam can imitate the songs of hundreds of bird species in Bach Ma.

“Everyone can imitate birdsong, but to do this exactly, one needs to understand the ‘tones’ of birds,” he said.

“All bird species have their languages. The sounds they produce when calling flocks, when feeding baby birds, and flirting with each other are quite different,” he said.

Talking about his special talent, Cam said when he was 10-12 years old, he often went to the forest with his father. 

Lying on a hammock swaying slightly in the old jungle of Bach Ma, he heard the singing of birds. He liked the birdsongs and tried to create similar sounds. Cam then step by step began to understand the language of the birds.


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Kim Chi

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