Where have all the sparrows gone?

As I stand gazing at the twilight sky, I see birds gliding across the sky, squirrels darting from branch to branch, cuckoos calling out... Suddenly, a different sound caught my attention. Faint but firm. A chirp. As my eyes searched through every branch of every tree, I found it. Feathers of brown and white, chubby yet petite, a short tail and sharp beak. A sparrow, I reckoned.

Urbanisation, which we consider as a boon to mankind, has been the root cause for the decline in the number of sparrows. The sparrows’ main source of food was the scattered food grain outside grocery shops. No more possible with the packaged grains of today. The thatched roofs of houses and crevices were just right for nesting. But modern homes are towering apartments with flat exteriors. Gardens are dominated by exotic variety of plants, most of which are foreign. Due to the absence of native plants, the insect population has also reduced. The mobile phone towers which, emit electromagnetic waves, are suspected to affect the sparrows’ability to navigate.

The least we could do is to place water bowls outside our homes, keep artificial nests and bird feeders. Please take action to help the sparrow increase its numbers. For, chirping is more important than tweeting.

ABINAYAH MANNAR MANNAN, B.E C.Sc., Easwari Engineering College

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