New Delhi: There is an exhilarating news on the occasion of World Sparrow Day. House Sparrow, as the name suggests, has shared a very close relationship with the humans. They have historically followed humans. It has been proved through research as well. But the sudden disappearance of state bird of Delhi about two decades back was a setback for the people who love nature specially birds. Now, these people can heave a huge sigh of relief as House Sparrows have started making its way back to environs of Delhi.
House Sparrows can now be seen at many places in Delhi-NCR. They can be mainly spotted at the open areas with wilderness. Experts and bird watchers say that they have been witnessing the House Sparrows at those places where they were missing few years ago.
The arrival of House Sparrows can be experienced at the metro stations as well. While travelling through the premises of Delhi Metro, one can listen to their chirp and even see them with the naked eye. The best chance to encounter them is on Blue and Yellow lines of Delhi Metro.
Although the environmentalists and ornithologists are not sure about the quantum of rise but they averred that they got a sense of relief in watching them in the areas like Najafgarh, Dwarka, Gurugram, Faridabad etc.
An ornithologist and assistant professor in IP University, Dwarka, Dr Sumit Dookia and his students have been observing the birds in Najafgarh Zone and Dwarka since 2010. According to him, the number of sparrows has increased in last five to six years in the area.
He shares, “In Najafgarh area and Dwarka, House Sparrows can be often seen at vacant areas. They can be spotted in sectors 9, 10 and 3. These birds can also be seen at metro stations like Sector 12, 13 and 14. According to visibility, we can say that the number has increased.”
Founder of Green Circle, an NGO of Dwarka working on environment, V Selvarajan shares his observations in Dwarka area, “Yesterday, Muralidhar, Sandhya and I visited several places including Sector 6 parks, Air Force Naval Officers Enclave in Sector 7 and the areas in Sector 10. We had made our observations for about four hours. At Air Force Naval Officers in Sector 7, we observed 50-100 sparrows in Bougainvillea bushes. SK Sharma, president of the society, proudly took us to the spots and made our job of searching easy. It was mating time. It was interesting to see this much of sparrows together. So, I would say that the number of sparrows is on the rise and there was never any extinction in Delhi what I observed.”
According to birdwatchers, ornithologists and wildlife photographers, the state bird of Delhi, House Sparrow was never in extinction. They were not visible at those places where they used to be earlier. They say that with urbanisation, habitats of the House Sparrows got destroyed. The agricultural fields got captured for urbanisation and as a result, the visibility of the sparrows in those area became low.
Dr Faiyaz Khudsar, wildlife biologist said, “Sparrows didn't extinct. However, their number and distribution ranges shrunk. Lack of nesting space coupled with the lack of food material led to decline of House Sparrows in urban areas. Sparrows never lost its breeding potential.”
The talks about the extinction of House Sparrow has been there in the community and the other platforms in Delhi for last couple of decades. But experts have denied their extinction.
A bird watcher, Pankaj Gupta says, “There is no decline in sparrow population. Recent scientific studies have found that the sparrow population is stable. We need to worry about the birds which are actually declining. In our colony at Basant Kunj, I have noticed about 40 sparrows.”
Eminent wild life photographer and writer Dushyant Parashar says, “Sparrows are surviving. In my opinion, they have managed to get over the initial shock of changed environment that reduced their numbers drastically. They seem to be adapting to the changed realties. The modern highrise apartment architecture is not favourable to their nesting. Mechanised system of harvesting and crop storage do not help either. It does not give them an opportunity to claim their share. Excessive use of pesticides has reduced the worm-supply to feed their young. Microwave radiation from cellphone towers is believed to render their eggs infertile etc. In my opinion, they, like Mynas, Crows and many other birds, are increasing taking to the garbage dumps to look for food. They will survive, but they seem to be distancing themselves from 'urban humans'.”
Dushyant further emphasises, “Other than the important service they provide as 'pest controller'; the presence of sparrows in our vicinity has always been therapeutic to humans. Watching them frolic in a birdbath or listening to their chirp at dawn and dusk are one of the finest connections we can have with nature. It's a great stress buster. That's such a huge need of the hour.”