The sparrow that is twittering on the edge of my balcony is calling up to me this moment a world of memories that reach over half my lifetime, and a world of hope that stretches farther than any flight of sparrows.
Donald G. Mitchell
No, it’s not about Jack Sparrow. However wonderfully the character was played by Johnny Depp, this is about a sparrow that’s infinitely more important- the common house sparrow which is, alas, no longer common. The ‘Chirp! Chirp!’ of a sparrow used to be an omnipresent sound. Now, however, it has been silenced.
Sparrows are a family of small passerine birds, Passeridae. They are primarily seed-eaters, though small insects also form a part of their diet. Small, plump, brown-grey birds with short tails and stubby, powerful beaks, they are physically similar to finches. Sparrows are generally birds of open habitats, including grasslands, deserts, and scrubland. Generally social birds, many species of sparrows breed in loose colonies and most species occur in flocks during the non-breeding season.
Sparrows used to be the most widely distributed species in the world. They are indigenous to Europe, Africa and Asia. In the Americas, Australia, and other parts of the world, settlers imported some species which quickly naturalised, particularly in urban and degraded areas. Now, however, they are disappearing- and quickly. They have just about vanished from India. In the Netherlands, they are an endangered species. And a similar situation exists in the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, France and Finland.
The reasons are aplenty. The rapid urbanization and population increase has led to clustered cities with high rise buildings which do not provide enough shelter for the birds. The lack of trees and greenery of any sort gives them no place for nests. The use of pesticides in farming has made crops poisonous for them. With no seeds or grains in sight, the seed-eaters have been robbed of their food. The ever-ringing cell phones which can drive crazy any sane individual prove fatal for the sparrows. Electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone towers are a major reason for the decrease in the sparrow population. The lack of clean air in the cities is no less dangerous. The factors keep building up and the sparrow numbers keep declining.
It is time we woke up from our inconsiderate slumber. When was the last time you saw a sparrow? Not in the near past. What about the near future? Or any future at all? Do you not want them to return- for the chirp to come back? What is appalling is a species which is known to coexist with humans has been driven to near extinction in a matter of a few years. It shows the extent to which human activities have been damaging the planet. If this doesn’t stop, other species will follow. The World Sparrow Day is observed on 20 March to face this reality. It is time to step up! There is no time to lose. Building nest boxes and bird baths may seem insignificant, but they make a difference! Decrease your carbon footprint. Grow more trees. Make the air a little bit cleaner. Go on. Do your bit. We owe it to our feathered friends. Rise for the sparrow!Share this post