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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Sparrows adapt for survival, find new nesting sites in city

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 19, 2013
First Published: 00:00 IST(19/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:01 IST(19/5/2013)

The humble house sparrow whose population is fast declining due to rapid urbanisation is making fresh efforts for survival.

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In what is being termed a rare and positive sign, the bird has found new nesting sites for breeding. Several nests have been spotted in the holes of newly-built flyover walls in Delhi.

Birdwatchers have found the birds and are monitoring them in the walls of flyovers at Geeta Colony and near Shakti Sthala, Ekta Sthal and Shanti Van across the river among other places.

Ecologist TK Roy, who is also Delhi state coordinator of Asian Waterbird Census, said, "Loss of habitat and nesting sites has been one of the reasons behind their declining population. This bird is now trying to adapt with alternative sites. If the sparrow survives in these habitats, their population will certainly go up, but they will need protection."

But these birds are already in conflict. "A large number of dominating bird species such as Bank Myna and Common Myna have been spotted scaring the sparrow away and occupying the nesting sites," he said. 

"As it is artificially-designed triangular wooden nest boxes promoted by some NGOs are being used by different organisations in the wild for nesting but they are not successful as they attract abundant and dominating species," said a birdwatcher.

The Delhi government notified the sparrow as Delhi's state bird in October 2012 and is currently running various awareness programmes.

"In the food chain, like other many birds, the sparrow is a bio-indicator. The decline shows the disappearance of fields, bushes, trees, marshes and water bodies is triggering extinction of the species," said Roy.


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