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Home » News » The ideal setting for sparrows to multiply

The ideal setting for sparrows to multiply

It will be a pity if Shakespeare’s belief in a divine will guiding the destinies of all living beings, expressed in the line from his play, Hamlet, “there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow”, is manifested in the calamitous decline of this chirpy bird. As naturalists have found to their dismay, there are now far fewer sparrows than before. Their decline, which seems to have taken place mostly in the cities, shows that the spread of the so-called urban jungle has proved to be a menace for this particular species although not for crows and doves.

Why this should be so remains a mystery. Perhaps the cutting down of trees on a large scale has destroyed their nesting sites. It is also possible that their vulnerability to predators — crows and kites — has increased as the sparrows have been forced to build their nests in the nooks and corners of buildings which do not provide secure hiding places. Although attempts are being made to create a public awareness of the disappearance of sparrows through the observance of a World Sparrow Day and the declaration of the sparrow as Delhi’s state bird, the outcome has been disappointing. It may be that the proposed establishments of sparrow corners in schools and the distribution of wooden nests will prove to be effective.

However, the Bombay Natural History Society has taken note of the decline in the numbers

of the “Citizen Sparrow”, which is the name of its study. It is not surprising that the study has found that the rural and semi-urban areas more conducive to the survival of the bird not only because of the types of human dwellings there, but also because the eating and living habits of the people are more suitable for the sparrows. Besides, there is more greenery and isolated places for nests. In the cities, too, the planting of more trees can help to save the cheerful “citizen”.

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