Remember those days when the sound that you woke up to was the chirping of the birds and not your screeching alarm clock? Well I had one of those rare moments this morning and was woken up to the melody of the chirpy little sparrows! As a child, I’ve literally grown up with these puny little birds fluttering around to glory. However, there has been a landslide decline in the number of sparrows around the world.
Sparrows have over a hundreds of varieties. The most common variety is perhaps the house sparrow. They are tiny and have a round chest with the feathers tapering towards the tail. They are very agile due to their body structure and can fly away almost instantly. The male sparrows have a blackish patch near their eye area followed by a white patch along the neck which can easily pass off as a bib! Whereas the female sparrows are just a monotone of a dusty beige color with a back feather or two. The house sparrows are living with the human habitation for over 10,000 years now and are one of the most loved birds.
The sparrows have lived amicably with the human habitation and were whole heartedly welcomed in the earlier days. The sparrows used to find a nook or corner to build its little nest. The nest usually consisted of twigs, branches and even dried leaves. People would feed them too and treat them as a family member. Times change and so do people. The people have now become intolerant towards the birds dwelling in their ventilators and are even agitated if a frivolous nook of their window is taken up by these little birds. They end up shooing the birds and worst case scenario even breaking the eggs. Trust me only humans are capable of this humanity.
The number of these house sparrows has decreased drastically. They are now being called an almost extinct species. Their number has been deteriorating and the urbanization is one of the most important factors. The high rises and sky scrapers have wrecked a lot of nests and the sparrows have been at the receiving end. Also another factor is the use of pesticides. The pesticide infested worms are usually eaten by the sparrow and have ended up bereft of life. These birds have done nothing to deserve this plight and we can do our bit to save these sparrows.
A lot of measures have been undertaken to save this humble bird. The state of Delhi has even adopted the house sparrow as its state bird. They have tried to put the limelight on the decline on the number of sparrows. They have also created awareness as to how to save these almost extinct birds. The state of Delhi has undertaken this issue seriously and so must we! Hanging out bird shelters made out of cardboard can serve as a home for these little birds. If you don’t want to sweat it, just a ‘matka’ or earthen pot should do the trick. Make a hole in the matka and hang it outside your window and this will make a wonderful place for them to dwell.
Sparrows are usually very timid and shy. They are very introvert and get intimidated by the crows and pigeons. The bigger birds are usually out to get the sparrows nest. The sight of crows preying on the sparrow’s egg isn’t a rare sight. Once they get accustomed to the matkas and bird shelters they will eventually create a habitat there. You can also make bird feeders. They can be just a few grains stacked up in a small bowl; or you could use your creativity and make bird feeders from the waste like plastic bottles, empty cans, etc. During the summer season, a bowl of water can help them. They can probably drink the water and use it to bathe to cool off the summer heat.
Also a day has been dedicated for sparrows exclusively. The 20th of March is celebrated as World Sparrow Day. On this day the people all over the world are dedicated to conserve the sparrow in the biodiversity of the bird’s species. It’s also a day to get the attention towards the conservation of the sparrows and to keep a count of them. NGOs have undertaken the preservation of this species seriously too. They have distributed box- nests to a lot of people to hang at their windows in order to shelter these little birds. You can also grow plants in your garden or backyards. This will attract the sparrows. Also be tolerant towards them rather than shooing them away. You can give them little morsels of food; even leftovers are accepted with hungry beaks!
Sparrows are the most lovable among wild birds. They have lived with humans in perfect harmony and have never been a nuisance per say. They have been a victim of intolerance and apathy. If we keep this up we will only be able to read about them in poems of Shakespeare and Google pictures of them to the future generation! Hope they are not immortalized in the sands of time. If you don’t pay heed to this situation there will never be this cheerful bird to warm your heart with its chirpiness!