September 30, 2013 at 8:10 pm #453MikeKeymaster
TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ SATURDAY, APRIL 10, 2004 11:57:35 PM ]
NEW DELHI: It’s early morning and you’re lying in bed trying to
snatch a few more winks before the alarm clock rings. Rays of
sunlight peep through the curtains and the sweet sound of sparrows
chirping makes it an absolutely idyllic morning.
Reality check. In all probability, what you hear will be nothing but
the sound of your neighbour’s kids as they trudge along to school,
the vegetable vendor selling his wares and the splutter of cars as
they stop and start. For, sparrows in Delhi are a fast disappearing
While systematically-collected long-term data is not really available
on this, the sparrow population in Delhi is on the decline, says MKS
Pasha, director for the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
“Two major reasons can be cited. One, the farmlands in and around
Delhi – in places such as Gurgaon – are heavily infested with
pesticides. This increases the toxicity of the grain-feeding birds.
Secondly, there is an enormous amount of habitat shrinkage in Delhi.
With the expansion of the city, there are a few places where these
little birds can nest.”
According to delhibird.org, the official website of the northern
India bird network, the decline could be due to a lack of nest sites
in the new buildings and a shortage of insects (on which adult seed-
eaters feed their young) due to air pollution.
The House Sparrow is the most widely distributed and common species
of bird in India. Not much is known about its brethren – the Eurasian
Tree Sparrow or the Spanish, Sind or Russet Sparrow – which are
Of the five species in India, four are breeding residents. The
Spanish Sparrows are winter migrants.
Says Nikhil Devasar, president, Delhibird, “We need the will to save
the sparrow. People are not too keen on conservation when it comes to
Experts argue that the real issue is not how but who will save the
sparrow. Says Bikram Grewal, author of several books on Indian birds.
“No real serious study has been done on the sparrow population. We
need to establish the numbers and then the cause of their decline.
And then, someone has to take responsibility.”
Will it be the ministry of Environment, the state government or
While the city turns a deaf ear to the chirps of this homely fluffy
brown bird, the fate of the sparrow seems to be on a wing and a
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