Where are you dear sparrow?

Bird of passage

Time to reflect A sparrow peeks into a mirror. DH photo

Sparrows, the little cute birds which were once the part and parcel of human beings are now missing. These chirping birds that used to peck insects from the agriculture lands in and around Mysore City are very rare to see.

Many children have the sparrows only in text books and internet but not real. These birds used to build their nests in the space between tiles and small holes in the wall. The bird collected dried grass, cotton and natural twines to build its nests. It enjoyed a good rapport with human beings. Now these birds have simply vanished from the urban areas. Even its population has declined so much.

Rapid urbanisation has taken the toll of sparrows. The tiled houses are replaced by concrete structures. The tanks and natural water points are now converted into residential plots.

The vast tracts of agricultural fields are not seen in the 10 km radius of the city. The situation is so that it is impossible to see the sparrows anywhere in the city.

The people have to blame themselves for this. In the name of development, they have literally driven away a variety of birds that liked to be the companions of people.

The sparrows were helping farmers by feeding on insects which otherwise would have damaged the crop. The conservation of these birds is not all in the list of priority. The hue and cry being raised by the greens is not heard.

The old timers still recollect how those little sparrows were living amidst people. Making s 'chow' sounds, they were moving in and around briskly inside the houses. In the present ultra-modern designed houses there are no places for these birds to build their nests.

Many do not want these winged friends just because they chirp will disturb their sleep and dropping will dirty the costly tiles. On the hand the trees on which these birds used to build nests are axed. Every day the humans pushed these birds away from the city unmindful of its utilities.

The green fields surrounding the city have turned into residential plots. Even farmers have changed the pattern of their houses and gone for concrete structures. Now the tiles have just become ornamental to give traditional touch to posh houses and buildings.

The gaps between the tiles are filled with cement to ensure that no bird takes shelter or build its nests. The question here is whether the sparrows will remain after years? The answer is unfortunately 'no' if one sees the speed of urbanisation.

Hitherto, people were bringing cereals and pulses to home in gunny bags and cleaning it. Naturally, the sparrows were getting food from the waste. Now everything comes in sealed packets which are directly filled into containers.

The things are changing according to lifestyles of people. The use of pesticides is also another reason for the declining population of sparrows. To protect the crops from pests, the farmers spray heavy dose of pesticides which prevent the birds from coming near the agricultural fields.

It is said that in 70s, the China Government ordered mass culling of sparrows after they damaged the crops. Accordingly, thousands of sparrows were caught and killed.

Subsequently, the pests attacked the crops and caused huge loss to farmers. That government spent more money on controlling the pests. Adverse effect is certain if anybody tries to disturb the natural cycle.

In Bangalore, MLA Narendrababu has built artificial nests atop trees in a park in his constituency to take care of birds like sparrow.

Why not the Mysore City Corporation or by any nature loving clubs launch this kind of novel programme to conserve the sparrows?  Recently, an officer of Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens jocularly mentioned that that soon the zoo may have to keep the sparrows on display just like any other endangered birds and animals. It could soon turn true if we continue to forget our past.

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