Survey shows decline in house sparrows

K.S. Sudhi
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House sparrows, a commonly found bird, have been ranked 51st in terms of their presence during the Common Bird Monitoring Programme, a four-day exercise held across the State.

At the same time, some birders felt that the results need not reflect the real situation regarding the bird population as the inadequacies in the sampling methods too might have contributed to the fall in the ranking of the species.

The most commonly present birds of the State included the house crow, common myna, India koel, white-cheeked barbet, black drongo, magpie robin, blue rock pigeon, white throated kingfisher, pond heron and jungle crow.

The bird monitoring programme was jointly carried out by the Kerala Forest Department, KeralaBirder, the Malabar, Travancore and Cochin Natural History Societies, Kottayam Nature Society and the Indian Bird Conservation Network. The steep fall in the number of the species has been recorded even as March 20 was celebrated as World Sparrow Day.

Over 3,000 bird enthusiasts looked out for common birds across various destinations in the country to upload information they gathered through field observations. The data was uploaded to ‘e-bird,’ a global platform created for compiling data on avian species. The platform is maintained by Cornell University, U.S. The common bird monitoring programme was part of the global exercise of Great Backyard Bird Count.

Birders from Kerala numbering 1,122 uploaded as much data on the birds as they gathered during the exercise that was held between February 14 and 17.

These birders together counted 61,222 individual birds during the span of four days.

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