Sparrows have become scarce in modern times for a variety of reasons. The common house sparrow the one of the most ubiquitous birds around us and one of the more familiar winged companions of human beings is now disappearing. The decline of the house sparrow is an indicator of the continuous degradation of the environment. Sparrows are termed as a ‘biological indicator species and their presence indicates the healthiness of the environment. Its presence and tweet in the early morning hours and throughout the day were extremely pleasant. It reminds us these little chirpy house sparrows that connected us to nature as a child and left lasting impression which are fast dwindling and now on the brink of extinction. We have today made our living materialistic and artificial. Sparrows were a menace on the fields. There were guards with slings and stones to chase them away as they ate grain from standing crops. Now people are trying to woo them back to nature.
Thanks to modern living, including cell phones and magnetic waves, the younger generation stands deprived of the pleasant experience. Magnetic waves transmitted by mobile towers are like sharp poisonous arrows piercing through the tender bodies of birds.
There is no place for the tiny, wonderful sparrow in our world, which is extremely unfortunate. Although it is among the most widely-distributed birds in the world, its numbers in many places have dropped sharply in the last several decades. I remember sparrows building their nests in the roof rafters, carrying pieces of straw, feathers and twigs in my garden. I also remember my school days when I use to hear the morning sound of sparrow but now those days are gone as lot of destruction has happened all over the world.
Today most Indians would perhaps know this sparrow bird only through photographs. The slow disappearance of the noisy, affable and restless birds, which had once colonized the tree branches and nooks and crannies, is a reality the State is yet to address. Trees are felled to make way for free flow of vehicles. The tiny holes in these trees house these birds. We need to make an attempt to raise public awareness about the decline of the house sparrow and throw light on the problems faced by the species in its daily fight for survival, but inspire people to take concrete steps. There is an urgent need to understand the status of our commonest bird, the ubiquitous house sparrow.
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)