To kill an innocent bird

Yet another World Sparrow Day has passed without any noticeable improvement in the life and fortunes of these small birds. The fact that a day in the calendar has been dedicated to these and other common birds shows the importance they have in the scheme of life. It is meant to raise awareness about the need for their conservation in these times when they are becoming endangered species. Sparrows were a common sight in houses, in towns and villages and everywhere, and the vivacious, chirpy birds were close to human beings. They never stood in the way of human beings and lived on the smaller forms of lives and the discarded things of our lives. They were important links in the chain of life and represented the richness and variety of nature. But they are difficult to spot in human habitations now. Most children do not recognise a sparrow or any other common bird.

Sparrows have gone away from our lives because the environment we live in and the lifestyles we have adopted are no longer able to support them. They used to build their nests on trees, in bushes or under the tiles of houses. Trees have been cut down, bushes are no longer seen and tiled houses have given way to concrete structures. Populations of worms and insects have diminished because of the use of chemicals and grain, scattered near houses and in markets, are not to be found now. They used to be the food of the birds. The bright lights of the city and electromagnetic radiation from mobile towers interfere with the birds’ ability to communicate. The rising noise levels in cities are harmful to the health of birds as much as they are to human beings. Overall pollution and the shrinking of wetlands have also harmed the birds.

This hostile environment has come to stay. It is not possible to change our lifestyles but there is much that can be done to make sure that we haven’t seen the last sparrow in our lives. Trees and bushes can be preserved not just for the sake of birds, but for many other valid reasons too.Smaller life forms should not be eliminated in our craze for clean surroundings. Conscious efforts to support the birds’ lives can make a difference. It is not for our happy and nostalgic memories of the chirping of sparrows and the sound of their flight that we should care for them. They are all players in the great game of life.

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