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Chirp! More sparrows now

Guwahati, March 20: The population of sparrows has increased in the city in the past three years, an NGO claimed in a meeting organised here today on World Sparrow Day.

A study by the NGO, Wild Flowers, has found that the birds are adapting themselves to the changing environment and loss of natural habitat, leading to a sizeable population of the birds in the city.

A 12-minute short film, The Adapting Sparrow, made by environmentalist Mubina Akhtar was also screened today.

The film portrays the way sparrows have adapted to the changing urban environment for survival.

The NGO said opposed to the popular belief that the population of sparrows was dwindling because of rapid urbanisation and deforestation, it had been observed to be gradually increasing in the city. While high-rising concrete structures and rampant felling of trees have definitely destroyed the natural habitats of these birds, they seem to be adjusting well by building nests in crevices in buildings and even flyovers.

“During our study, we found the city has a sizeable population of sparrows. GS Road alone has about 1,500 sparrows. Even in certain residential localities, close to a few hundred sparrows can be spotted. In fact, their population has been increasing gradually during the past three years, primarily because they have been able to adjust well to the changing environment. They have adapted very well and are breeding,” said Akhtar, an environmentalist with Wild Flowers.

Nests of sparrows could be found on roof spaces and below awnings of Assam-type houses. Now they have started building nests in the hollow spaces on the sides of flyovers and high-rises.

“The Bhangagarh flyover here is an apt example, where five to six nests of sparrows could be found. We even found eggs in these nests,” Akhtar said.

Sparrows have also been found to be roosting in the evergreen deodhar (locally known as debodaru) and bullet wood (locally known as bokul) trees.

“Such trees are found in abundance on the premises of many government offices as well as certain localities here. The sparrows roost in large numbers on them,” Akhtar said.