REPLUG: State bird of Delhi, the sparrow, nests in Dwarka Metro stations
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REPLUG: State bird of Delhi, the sparrow, nests in Dwarka Metro stations

More stations on the blue, yellow, red and green lines have also seen these birds setting up home

REPLUG: State bird of Delhi, the sparrow, nests in Dwarka Metro stations

New Delhi: On August 8, 2016, CitySpidey had published a story on how state bird of Delhi, sparrows were finding their home at metro stations in Dwarka. On the occasion of World Sparrow Day, read the story below:

The good old house sparrows, Delhi’s state bird, have found themselves a new home — the Metro stations at Dwarka. The birds, which had almost disappeared from the state, have flocked to the quieter, less-crowded, slightly greener stations at sectors 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 and Dwarka Mor, among others. Hundreds of them can be seen among green patches, picking insects and other food — and their numbers are seen to grow each day.

More stations on the blue line, yellow line, red lines and green line have also seen these birds setting up home.

Tubelight fittings seem to be their favourite place for nesting. Small holes left unoccupied by pigeons, too, are being used by them for nesting and breeding. Environmental experts are heaving a sigh of relief at this happy turn of events, since these birds were becoming rarer by the day. They feel the architecture of the Metro stations is perfect for their survival.

Dushyant Parashar, a famous wildlife writer and photographer, explains, “This is a good sign. The sparrows have chosen a specific place as their habitat. Actually, these birds like to live closer to human beings, and they usually nest inside on verandahs and other similar spaces. That’s why they are called the house sparrow. Their survival depends upon us — their habitats are our homes and their food our food. What happened is that we changed the architecture of our homes, and spaces such as the verandah are hardly ever seen. So it is indeed a joy to see them finally find a place to nest again.”

He further adds, due to a lot of architectural changes owing to urbanisation — in both Delhi and other places across the globe — these birds have been robbed of their nesting sites. In fact, he says, in Holland, sparrows are critically endangered, if not extinct, because of urbanisation and unsuitable architecture and planning. “Sparrows and dogs live around human beings. Their survival will be difficult, if we distance ourselves from them,” he explains.

Fleshing out the argument further, eminent wildlife biologist Faiyaz Khudsar says, “The scientific name for the house sparrow is Passer domesticus, which in itself explains the importance of the domestic environment and surroundings for its survival. The areas near the Metro stations offer some semblance of a domestic environment for them.”

On the survival of these birds at the Metro stations, Faiyaz elaborates, “There is a complex mosaic of vegetation varieties, easing foraging distance from the nesting site, and a combination of food items for both nestlings and adults. These factors combine to improve their survival chances here. Grass varieties such as paricuma and seteria in vacant plots around the Metro stations help them build their nests. Also, these shrubs and grasses are home to a host of insects, such as moths and butterflies, which is essential food for the nestlings.”

Optimistic about the sparrows' survival, he adds, “These birds never lost their breeding potential, and this new adoption of nesting sites proves that they can still breed if the environment is favourable, even in urban areas.”

Environment experts have requested the Delhi Metro to give this positive development serious thought and take adequate steps to sensitise its staff to the protection of the sparrows' precious habitat.

And Delhi Metro spokesperson M Yadav agrees. “This is a positive development," he says. "The state bird of Delhi, which had become a rare sight of late, is nesting at our very stations. We will give the matter more consideration and provide them all the protection and conservation we can.”