Pigeons rule skies in Indore as common birds continue to disappear

  • Punya Priya Mitra, Hindustan Times, Indore
  • Updated: May 10, 2015 15:59 IST

If you have missed the early morning chirps and caws for some time now, then you are not the only one.

House sparrows and crows, the once ubiquitous birds, are fast disappearing in the rapidly developing Indore that has spread its wings for concretisation.

And while these common birds are vanishing fast from the cityscape, throaty coos of pigeons greet people at every nook, corner and parapet of Indore.

Bird lovers and ornithologists alike have raised an alarm over the changing scenario and warned that efforts should be made to maintain bird diversity in the state’s business capital.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Indore-based ornithologist Ajay Gadikar said: "The house sparrow population in the city is fast dwindling. Similarly, the once commonly found crow is hard to spot these days. Most of the other bird species, feeding on insects are also disappearing, but the one that seems to be omnipresent are the pigeons."

According to the ornithologist, pigeons are prolific breeders and more adaptable to humans.

"The unregulated practice of feeding pigeons, which is mostly considered auspicious, is one of the main reasons for (their) population explosion. Absence of natural predators is also (equally) responsible for their rapid growth," Gadikar said.

The expert feels mushrooming skyscrapers and residential complexes in the city are providing more roosting spots to pigeons -the bird is known to make nests on parapets, air conditioners and any crevices on buildings - while lack of open space and loss of vegetation have forced many bird species to live and lay eggs on the ground.

Bhalu Mondhe, head of Nature Volunteers, an organisation fighting to preserve the natural habitat at Sirpur Lake, told Hindustan Times: "Sparrows are vanishing because they need earth and greenery to survive. The little amount of earth available in the plant pots in multistoried buildings is not enough (for their survival)."

Environmentalist Sudhir Khetawat, however, has another theory.

According to him radiation from mobile towers are the main reason behind the reduction in the number of birds. The mobile towers emit radiation, which is reducing their capacity to breed, he said, adding that it was gradually affecting pigeons too.

Echoing his views, PC Dubey chief conservator of forest, Ujjain, who has also worked as CCF Indore for over three years, said: "Even though there has not been any census of sparrows or other birds in Indore, yet it is a fact that the number of sparrows have come down (in the city). I believe mobile towers are affecting these birds in some ways. A large number of sparrows can still be found if you move out of the city."

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