The time is not far off when we would awake and hear the roar of traffic, zooming of cars and rickshaws but no chirp of house sparrows. The decline in the population of house sparrows may be attributed to many factors like urbanization, loss of habitat, electromagnetic radiations from cellphone towers, and so on.
In urban areas, they have acclimatized accordingly and have stared nesting in the fissures and crevices of walls and air conditioning outlets. However, they’re vulnerable to felines and other avian like crows and kites.
I remember flocks of sparrows sitting on the Peepal tree, on electric wires, and taking a dip in a puddle of water. In cities, non-native trees replace big trees, resulting in little or no food source and nesting place for sparrows.
In agricultural arena, they play a pivotal role in eating insects and larvae from the crops. The bombardment of pesticides on the crops has reduced their population as they feed on insects and worms.
Our Cheerful and Chirpy Friends
Recently, I paid a visit to our fields and was saddened by the nearly absence of this cheerful and chirpy fellow. I sat under the shade of mango tree, and there was a summer breeze rustling the leaves of surrounding trees. An irrigation canal was flowing nearby and a group of workers were sitting on the charpai (a traditional woven bed used across Pakistan) under the shade of the tree. When I asked them about the sparrows, they were also concerned about the decline in the number of sparrows and missed their chirping early in the morning when they usually made their way toward the fields.
A spell of quietude prevailed there. Near the canal, there was a graveyard beneath the canopy of the behemoth Neem tree. A house sparrow was perched atop the tombstone. I inched closer to have a look at her, she gave out a loud shrill and flew away. I realized she wanted me to help her, to save her progeny, before it’s too late.
I made my way toward the path leading out the fields, thinking how mankind has posed a serious threat to this species.
To feed population bomb, we have to pay an opportunity cost—may be the sacrifice of house sparrow.