Free Press Journal

The common sparrow is now uncommon



Mumbai – The days are gone when you could see the House Sparrows at most places where there were houses (or even buildings), the classic sparrow chirping giving you the pleasant feeling of wild life existence in your locality. But the tiny bird, the common house sparrow is vanishing now; it is one of the endangered species. The extinction of the bird is an indicator to the sensitive changes in the environment, the bio-indicator that we are leaving in an unhealthy environment.

World Sparrow day was celebrated on Sunday and many organizations had organized events highlighting need to conserve the sparrows and educate people to save the tiny bird. One of the organizations was ‘Lady Bird Environmental Consulting’ who had organized a two hours nature trail, naming it ‘A Sparrow Walk’ in Belapur, Navi Mumbai. The walk was in the dense green cover behind the Urban Haat, a CIDCO’s project on Sunday early morning where bird lovers across Navi Mumbai participated.

The organizer and owner of ‘Lady Bird’, Dr V Shubhalaxmi headed the trail of almost 1.5 km. The trail was full of birds like red vented bulbuls, parakeets, coppersmith, flower pecker and white throated kingfisher. Dr Shubhalaxmi told stories of these birds which were sighted on the flowers of Silk Cotton and Coral trees and their association. The participants in the sparrow walk also explored the ant lion pits in the ground and listened to the heart beats of the Ghost tress, the trees with white coloured barks.

Dr Shubhalaxmi told that, “It is not only existence of house sparrow that indicates the good habitat around you, but diversity of birds; in fact any specie around you indicates that you have a healthy environment. If you have a good green cover in your locality and you see birds like Indian Robbin, parakeets, golden oriole, sun birds etc indicates that you have a healthy habitat. And if you have more number of pigeons and crows it tells you that you stay in poor environment. As the sparrow doesn’t feed garbage, we hardly see sparrows around our houses now a days, Dr Shubhalaxmi explained.

“In the urban areas, the multi-storied complexes have deprived the birds, their nesting and resting hideouts which the tiled roofs used to provide, she added.

Though sparrows are not declined below the threshold limits in the city, we can still bring them back. Dr Shubhalaxmi at the end of her trail gave some tips on attracting sparrows and their do’s and don’ts. Having maximum number of plants around you, having bird feeders, bird nests around your homes are some of the ways to add to the stop overs of the sparrows.