Sparrow population comes down in Bangalore, Chennai

Alarming trends

The house sparrow has been the worst hit bird species in Bangalore and Chennai. Mumbai, Hyderabad and Delhi have shown marginal improvement in its population, a country-wide survey conducted by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has revealed.

The survey states that reports from both Bangalore and Chennai reveal a total negative presence of the little bird; this is extremely alarming, as it indicates a gradual degeneration of the environment in the region.

The house sparrows which once woke every household with their soft chirping, in the past, have been slowly disappearing from cities across the country. The sudden decline of the species sets alarm bells ringing as the threat of extinction of any species indicates the worsening of the environment, said Atul Sathe of BNHS.

Last year, the BNHS with the support of the Union Ministry of Environment and National Centre for Biological Sciences and Nature Conservation Foundation and a dozen other partner organisations carried out a three-month online interactive nation-wide survey of house sparrows between April and June.

Sathe said the questionnaire prepared in eight languages was distributed across the country; of the 5,730 participants furnishing information, over 25 per cent were from towns and villages. The rest were from large cities. Interestingly, the oldest bird observer was 91 years old while the youngest participant was seven, both from Pune which incidentally along with Coimbatore reported sparrow presence.

However, overall the survey found that presence of sparrows in localities as compared with 2005 is showing a decline. Even the numbers were low with less numbers of nests being spotted.

The survey reported a large number of sparrows from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Assam, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. These regions reported greater sparrow presence than in other parts of India.

The survey also found that villages, towns and semi-urban localities located in hinterlands reported large flocks of sparrows unlike major metros.

This  indicated that the difference in land-use, dominant architectural style, eating and buying habits of people could be impacting the environment as a whole, leading to the decimation of the bird, noted the survey.

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