Bumdeling Bids Farewell To The Beloved Black Necked Cranes, Awaits Their Return To Bhutan


These sacred cranes have for years become a part of the community and are treated as important guests.

(Source: Impaktor)


By Neten Dorji | Kuensel

On 29 February, villagers of Bumdeling in the district of Trashiyangtse dressed up in their finest ghos and kiras (traditional male and female costumes of Bhutan) to bid farewell to the beloved black-necked cranes.

Out on the balconies, residents as well as some visitors, young and old, waved as the last of the black-necked cranes left the village to make their annual migration.

The two major migratory sites for these birds in Bhutan are: the Phobjikha Valley in Wangdue district and Bumdeling Valley in Trashiyangtse district.



Photo: India Environment Portal


As winter approaches, the cranes will make their annual pilgrimage to the valley around October where they usually remain until the following March.

As the birds soared above the village, circled around and disappeared over the hills, the children shouted their goodbyes and parents prayed for the safe returns of the birds again sometime in late October this year.

In fact, it was an official farewell to the last batch of eight birds that left Bumdeling gewog (village). These sacred cranes have for years become a part of the community and are treated as important guests.

Holding a special place in the hearts and folklore of the Bhutanese, the black-necked crane is also known as the ‘Thrung Thrung Karmo’ in Dzongkha. They are also called ‘Lhab-bjas’ or ‘heavenly birds’ by the locals.

The students of Bumdeling Lower Secondary School also performed a crane courtship dance by donning costumes that make them look like cranes. They also sang the Thrung Thrung song as a tribute to these endearing birds. 

This is the first time that the residents of Bumdeling had come together to bid farewell to the black-necked cranes, an endangered species highly revered by the locals as heavenly birds.

Photo: Kuensel


The Bhutanese also believe that it is symbol of marital fidelity and are auspicious birds.

Importance of conserving black necked cranes and their habitat

On a more serious note, the official farewell highlighted the importance of conserving the species and improving its habitat along the banks of Kholongchhu River in Bumdeling.  

The Black-necked crane is listed as an endangered species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species and is legally protected in Bhutan.

It was also an occasion for the villagers to take ownership and renew their commitment to conserve these precious cranes. 

Officials from the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary said that unlike Phobjikha Valley, another popular crane roosting ground of these special birds, which celebrated their arrival with the black-necked crane festival, they chose to celebrate their departure instead.


Source: Youtube/Tshering Tobgay


Park Manager, Karma Tempa, said that it was everybody’s responsibility to protect these endangered birds.

“The farewell with a celebration was to create awareness on the conservation of these birds.”

He also mentioned that there were no injuries or causalities reported for about a decade while the visitors were in Bumdeling.

“Every year, we protect them well and ensure they fly well to the Tibetan plateau, their summer habitat.”

Reasons for the decline in arrival of black necked cranes

However, officials said that the number of cranes visiting Bumdeling has been decreasing every year and only about 93 birds came to Bumdeling this winter. This is down by 50 percent from 1987.

“Disturbance of feeding and rooting grounds could have resulted in the decreasing number of cranes. Within two years, we have restrained 10 acres of feeding ground,” he said.

Trashiyangtse’s Dzongrab Gom, Lam Dorji, highlighted the importance of conservation and taking ownership of cranes.

He reminded the residents of Bumdeling that they are fortunate to be included in the conservation group as this rare species of bird is found only in Bhutan, India and China.  

The dzongkhag (district) is also planning to start an eco-lodge in Bumdeling in the current fiscal year, with the aim of letting visitors learn more about these special birds while getting more local youths employed at the same time.

“We would hand over the public and employ the youth of Bumdeling.”

Meanwhile, some of the locals felt that bidding farewell to crane made the occasion more special and exciting.

Bumpa Tshering, a 72 years old resident said that the birds have a special spiritual connection to the villagers.

“Before the birds descend to Bumdeling valley on its arrival, they will circumambulate the Rigsum Goenpa (Monastery) and fly over same place. They bring luck with them.”  


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

Related Posts

‘Heavenly Birds’ Which Do Not Forsake Their Own Kind, Bumdeling...

As of 21 December, 83 cranes have arrived in the in Bumdeling Valley.

Dec 24, 2018 15:23

Phobjikha Valley Sees Increasing Number Of Black-Necked Cranes –...

Since October, close to 270 black-necked cranes have already arrived in the Phobjikha Valley.

Nov 28, 2018 20:23

Bhutan’s Black-Necked Crane Festival Drawing More Foreign...

Some 500 tourists from around the world came to Bhutan to see the Black-Necked Crane festival, exceeding the number of...

Nov 14, 2019 23:18

Three Black-Necked Cranes In Bhutan Tagged With GPS Transmitters...

The data collected, officials say, will be invaluable for the protection of this endangered species.

Feb 10, 2019 19:11

Discover The Wonders Of The Black-Necked Crane Festival – A Day...

This unique festival will leave a lasting impression on you. With more than a hundred villagers participating, see the...

Nov 09, 2018 21:39

The Black-Necked Crane Festival

The arrival of the black-neck cranes signals the coming of winter and plays an integral role in the daily lives of the...

Nov 01, 2017 13:54



The Test of Loyalty & Commitment Among Bhutanese Employers in Tourism Industry

Amid the crisis we recognized few Bhutanese Tour Operators with generous and compassion souls because COVID-19 will have far-reaching...

Apr 03, 2020 14:33

Daughter Of U.S Covid-19 Patient Thanked Bhutan For Its Great Care And Prayers

The 76 year old American tourist left Bhutan for the US on March 13 for further medical treatment.

Mar 16, 2020 23:28


Digital Content Creators and Its Relevance

Everything under the sun, you name it, can be discussed! And therefore, the relevance of BLOGGING in our everyday lives!

Apr 01, 2020 01:22

Gangkhar Puensum – World’s Highest Mountain Forbidden To Climbers

The Bhutanese also believe that the Gangkhar Puensum is home to the mythical Yeti and other legendary creatures.

Mar 23, 2020 23:28


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58


Bumthang The Switzerland of Bhutan Beyond Itineraries

Bumthang in Bhutan is the most historic dzongkhag if we consider the number of ancient temples and sacred sites. Being a combination of four...

Mar 28, 2020 11:59

Thimphu Urbanites Hits The Hiking Trail Than Ever Before.

One of the best and easy walk around Thimphu is the three-to four-hours round trip from Dochu La to Lungchuzekha Goemba. It affords...

Mar 26, 2020 11:40


Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!