Where have the sparrows gone?

Where have all those chirpy little sparrows gone? Once a common sight, hopping away on the verandahs and chirping joyously from tree branches, the sight of a sparrow (Passer domesticus) has over the years become a rarity.The tentacles of development spreading with fast paced concretisation of the city have ended in choking away one of mankind’s oldest associate. As the city prepares to join the World Sparrow Day on March 20, it is left to a few individuals concerned at the fast decline in sparrow population, to bring them into focus. And as these concerned citizens point out, sparrows have disappeared from most parts of not only the city heart but also from several suburban locations. “If we don’t make efforts now to revive their numbers, soon the sight of a sparrow will be lost,” quips Rajani Vakkalanka, who founded Citizens’ Action for Local Biodiversity Awareness and Conservation (CALBAC). Supported by few like-minded individuals, she has been engaged in not only spreading awareness on sparrows, but also setting up nesting facilities in different areas. “Apart from grains, the sparrows need earthworms to feed but where are worms available in the city,” questions Rajani. Baby sparrows in particular are raised on worms and as she points out, many times chicks starve to death in nests as the mother sparrow fails to get worms.The right habitat in the open needed by these birds include thorny shrubs and pesticide free plants. The CALBAC is ready to provide neSxt boxes that can be put in balconies too. “We have these nest boxes prepared by carpenters at a cost of Rs 45 to Rs 50 and provide at the same cost,” she says.

Source: Telangana Today, 17 March 2017