Happy World Sparrow Day

The  lazy  gardener  has  awakened  and  decided  not  to  trim  the  hedges,  prune  the  bushes  or  cut  the   overgrown branches  of  the  trees. He  has  moved  away  from  the  ‘Prim  and  Proper’  mantra.  The  flowers  of  the  garden  are  left  to  grow  in  the  company  of  weeds  and  now  both  outgrow  each-other.

This  is  that  time  of  the  year,  when  nature’s  beauty  is  in  full  spring,  flowers  blooming  in  full  glory  with  buzzing  bees,  lady birds,  hoppers  and  ants,  acting  as  their  lovers,.  The  mornings  are  beautiful,  loaded  with  these  wonderful  views.  It  is  the  season  of  fertility  for  plants  as  well  as  birds.

Some  collecting  twigs  as  nesting  period  has  begun, and soon  they  will  be  laying  their  eggs, some  fluttering  their wings ,  some  looking  to  grab a  bite  and  others  lazily  moving  on  the  fruiting  and  flowering  trees.

But,  where  are  the  house  sparrows ?!! I wonder that  they  have  become extinct or  are  still  depleting.

Have  they  diminished  in  such  large  numbers  and  drastically  decreased  to  an  extent ,  that  there  is  no  house  sparrow  in  sight.

How  can  one  forget,  the  little  hustle-bustle  caused  by  their  hopping  into  the  portico  to  peck  the  insects  that  had  dropped  beneath  the  night lights  or  to  peck  the  scattered  grains. How  they  drank  of  the  puddle  and  even  bathe  in  it!

So  why  did  the  sparrows  leave?!!  and  what  do  we  do  get  them  back?!!

The  mystery  has  not  been  solved  yet,  but  yes,  now  we  very  well  know  the  reasons  of  their  withdrawal  from  the  habitations  and  human  dwellings.

The  electromagnetic  radiations  from  the  cell phone  towers  are  the  major  reason  behind  all  this. Sparrows  got  terribly  disoriented  with  the  electro-magnetic  radiations  and  so  thousands  of  them  went  berserk!

To  add  on  to  their  troubles,  their  nesting  places  also  vanished,  lush  foliage  was  replaced  by  more  buildings  mushrooming  at  every  nook  and  corner  accompanied with flats having glass  windows  and  minus  the  terraces. These  monstrous  buildings  did  not  offer  them    crevices  to  dwell  upon.

The  natural  grass  and  muddy  paths,  the  green  swathes , soon  gave  way to  cemented   paths and  concrete  parking  spaces,    the  trees  and  plants  were  covered  in  pesticides ,  to  boost  their  growth,  or  were  axed,  but  all  this  resulted  in  reduced  reproductive  capacity  and  even  hatching  deformities  of  the  sparrows.

The  smoke  emitted  from  the  vehicles  choked  them  to  death  and  few  that  survived  lost  their  memory  to  an  extent  that  they  even  forgot  to  feed  their  fledglings.  Due  to  the noise  pollution   they  could  not  respond  to  the  hunger  calls  of  their  young  ones .   The  water  loaded  with  chemicals,  too  became  contaminated  for  them.  Their  fertility,  seed  dispersal  abilities  and  the  food  chain  was  severely  affected.

These   common,  social,  chirpy  house  sparrows have  been  an  integral  part  of  my  childhood,   and   mainly  through  the  medium  of  a   popular  animation   in  the  form  of  a  metaphorical  story  :

Ek  chidiya,  anek  chidiya,  dana  chugne  aaye  chidiya”  which  means   one  sparrow,  many  sparrows,  all  come  in  groups  to  feed  on  the  grains ,  but  the  song  has  become  the other  way  round,  many  sparrows  have  now  been  reduced  to  only  few  and  now  no  body  feeds  them  regularly,  as  all  are  busy  with  technology.  And  children  get  to  see  them  in  pictures  only,  but  still  they  never  cease  to  amuse  us.

These  hopping,  jumping  common  birds  have  become  so  uncommon.  There  were  times  when  as  kids  we  could  differentiate  between  the  two genders , male  sparrow,  whom  we  called  as  ‘chidu  and  female  as  chidi.  

The  welsh  name  given  to  these  house  sparrows is  Aderyn,  which  means  the  ‘Roof Bird’.

It  is  also  declared  as  the  State  bird  of  our  country  capital ‘New Delhi’.  They  are  monogamous  and  gregarious  also  known  as  Passer domesticus.

To  save  these  lovely  birds  it  is  important  that  we  begin  from  the  scratch,  by  planting  more  bushes  and  shrubs  and  without  cutting  them , so  that,  they    can  feed  on  insects.

Feeding  them  grains  on  daily  basis,  building  various  nesting  kits  and  placing  them  on  the  poles,  filling  the  pots  with  water,  are  few  basic  steps  to  save  these  lovely  birds,  which  have  been  for  long  time  part  of   our households.  And  no  other  bird  carries  the  tag  of  being  called  as   the ‘House Sparrow’.

So  save  them,  be  a  lazy  gardener, ‘ allow  your  garden  to  become  a  bit  scruffier,  there  will  be  more  insects  for  the  sparrows  to  gobble  up.  Setting  aside  a  patch  of  garden  to  go  ‘wild’  will  really  help’.

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