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All-Women 'Army' Protecting Rare Bird in India

Greater adjutant storks stand near a garbage dump on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, on June 5, 2012.  PHOTOGRAPH BY ANUPAM NATH, AP

DADARA, INDIAOn a cloudy day in July, in a remote village in northeastern India, Charu Das excitedly imitates the awkward movements of a stork with her hands.

In a few months, the greater adjutant stork—called hargilla, which means "swallower of bones" in Sanskrit—will descend on this hamlet, situated in Assam's Brahmaputra Valley, to breed in large numbers.

"You will soon catch sight of this dark, quirky-looking bird, with large, thick bills, stalking over the beds of these wetlands or on the rain-soaked paddy fields in its typical military gait," Das says.

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