We Could Not Save This Little One, But House Sparrow Can Be
A very tragic end to what my eight year old niece and myself thought of as a treasured find. We went looking out for a preying cat or something alike in our home garden, after having noticed a pair of Kabars make shrill cries from over there (Kabar in Gujarati, no idea about its English substitute). We couldn’t find any cat or stray canine in the vicinity though and the birds too retreated having noticed our presence. Then we discovered the photographed baby chick in a shrub, and quickly left the place after having taken a few snapshots. Obviously, we did not wish to disturb its natural hideout in any way.
As I went upstairs, I instructed my niece to keep vigil until the bird had left the garden safely. But, my niece reported later how the bird had been devoured by a cat, after she broke the vigil briefly. I consoled her, that it wasn’t her fault and I should have kept the watch myself instead of her. The relative quiet of birds after we had spotted the little fellow should have alerted me of the cat’s presence, the reason why they felt assured in our company (and the cat hid awaiting for its own chances).
Having lost the game, set and match to a gray looking cat, I decided to do something good out of this nagging failure. So here goes the positive effort, a link to an article about House Sparrows in India that are now extinct from urban centers. House sparrows, as many of you must know, were part of the Indian life until recently, in urban places and the countryside, both. They have significantly dwindled from the cities in the last decade and half though, due to various man-made reasons. Spotting these tiny birds can be a herculean effort for bird watchers in the cities today. However, it becomes a source of great excitement for those able to do so. I recently discovered them hang around my own neighborhood in a small bunch after a gap of over ten years. The following article looks into the reasons of sparrow’s dilution from Indian cities and tries to suggest measures for its rehabilitation.
One Flew Over My Nest. Not Anymore.. (Link removed)
PS – House Sparrow is believed to be intruding and harmful towards other winged species. The population of many a species of other birds has increased in my town after the sparrows dwindled. This includes, cuckoos (they have grown ten fold…amazing!) Kabars and a few other smaller types. Interestingly, crows have shrunk too in my neighbourhood in the recent years, and it should tell why, first of all, cuckoos might have found it easy to multiply.