Sparrows are disappearing
Sparrows are the most sweet
and social bird familiar of all wild birds. The sparrows are a family of small passerine birds , *Passeridae*. They are also known
as *true sparrows*, or *Old World sparrows*, names also used for a genus of the
family, Passer. Many sparrow species commonly live in agricultural areas, and for several human settlements are a primary
habitat. The Eurasian Tree and House Sparrows are particularly specialised in living around humans and inhabit cities in large numbers.
Sparrows with many species breeding in loose colonies and most species occurring in flocks during the non-breeding season in gardens.
The earliest mentions of pet sparrows are from the Romans. Jesus's use of "sparrows" as an example of divine providence in the
Gospel of Matthew also inspired later references, such as that in Shakespeare's "Hamlet and the Gospel".
Environmental filmmaker Suresh Elamon sai,: “Once upon a time, nests of house sparrows were to
be found in almost every household as well as in public places such as markets, bus stands and railway stations
where they lived in colonies and survived on food grains, insects, and worms. In fact, they live wherever humans live and in such close
quarters to us too. In my younger days, I remember seeing hordes of them
fluttering around Chalai market. House sparrows nowadays are not an endangered species, but in all probability they are facing a crisis of
survival in what was once their natural range.”
Reasons for the decline
Sparrows are disappearing are disappearing
rapidly from many parts of the country The reasons for the decline of the house sparrow (Passer
/domesticus indicus/) are many, say the experts. “The exact reason cannot actually
be pinpointed. Studies show that it may be because of the destruction of
its habitat, what with increasing urbanisation and the supermarket culture taking over local markets, lack of insects that are vital for
it's young, and even electromagnetic pollution from mobile phone towers
that harm its reproductive cycle,” explains Suresh.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests had set up a committee headed by
the director of the Bombay Natural History Society, Dr Asad Rahmani, to study the possible impact of "radiation from communication towers on
wildlife, birds and bees". According to the report submitted by the committee, the electromagnetic
radiation (EMR) from mobile towers was responsible for the decreasing umber of sparrows and bees.
Referring to a study conducted by Punjab University, the committee cited
an instance in which 50 fetuses were spoilt within 5.30 minutes when exposed to EMR. Apart from that, the sparrows affected by the radiation
lose procreative power and sense of direction.
Sparrows are disappearing
specially in Assam where electro-magnetic radiation from communication towers, use of leaded
petrol in vehicles and overuse of pesticides in agriculture have been
cited as some causes by scientists. Chief scientist of the Regional Agriculture Research Centre in
Lakhimpur, Prabal Saikia, said, "It is a fact that sparrows are becoming
scarce throughout Assam - both house and tree sparrows." Saikia said his research on house sparrows conducted in Guwahati and
Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Jorhat and Tinsukia districts found that
they had been sighted in greater number in the Dikhowmukh area of Upper
Assam along the banks of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries in Dikhow and Mitong.
Sparrows were once a common sight, these little birds that are so intrinsic
a part of our larger existence. But we began to take them for granted and ceased to take notice of them. Today most of us would be hard
pressed to spot the humble house sparrow, known as Chiriya, angadikuruvi,
arikkilli or veethukilli in local parlance. World Sparrow Day, observed on March 20 every year since
2010, to remind us of our close connection to the one bird that has, over centuries, successfully adapted itself to human life.