20 March is celebrated as World Sparrow Day. (Photo: Mohammed Dilawar)
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How Humans are Helping Pigeons to Push Sparrows Towards Extinction

The tiny house sparrow which used to be a common sight two decades ago, chirping away or bathing in flocks, is now a rare sight. This social bird has been associated with humans for around 10,000 years but their habitat has been encroached upon in urban spaces making them an endangered species.

“Common sparrows are going extinct because of mindless urbanisation. They are losing not just their natural habitats but also the essential human touch they need and thrive upon. The current generation is so much surrounded by technology that they have forgotten about nature. The indifference caused by a lack of emotional connect has pushed these birds to the edge of extinction,” says Mohammed Dilawar who has been raising awareness on their depleting population.

Dilawar founded the Nature Forever society which launched the World Sparrow Day on 20 March in 2010.

The lack of indigenous trees and hedges which sparrows prefer in urban city planning is one of the reasons listed for their steady depletion. The “matchbox styled housing” with glass fittings, as Dilawar puts it, robs the modern architecture of cavities, where sparrows love nesting.

While the number of sparrows go down, pigeons have been on the rise in the urban sphere. Feeding pigeons at red lights might look like a kind act but it is actually affecting the balance of the ecosystem. Birds need to find their own food for survival but bringing the food to the bird has allowed their population to grow excessively.

Pigeons are an invasive species that grow manifold annually and end up ousting the sparrows of their space. They also don’t have a nesting preference and unlike sparrows, pigeons have adapted well to modernisation. This should be hint enough that our partial preference towards a particular species is costing the lives of other species.

The electromagnetic fields and radiation created by mobile towers are also known to affect sparrows, which should be reason enough for humans to be cautioned of its effects on all living beings.

With summer around the bend, people should hang bird houses with grains and water to help our little winged friends survive.