March 25, 2011

Sparrow houses for free!

I was just about to sign out of my blog when I stumbled upon the Sparrow Houses that BCIL recently distributed for free. The first time I heard about their Million Seed Ball Campaign, I was wonder-struck. We live in a world of possibilites, but, how many of us stop to think of it? Well, some folks do and therefore we still live in a safe and peaceful (but, for how long?) bit of the Earth. 

Sparrows! They take me back to my Mother's house- a haven of peace. Trees grew aplenty there. Towards mid-morning, say around 10 30- 11 00, as I sat in the long Verandah of that old house reading an old book from the old library, my attention would get diverted to some chirpy intruders! It seemed they came from nowhere - perched on a shrub now, gone the next second - they spread so much cheer around. Constantly hopping from one branch to the other, they celebrate vibrancy. 

Experts say their numbers are dwindling- some countries have added them to the 'red list' of endangered species. World over, people are sitting up and taking notice of the mystery of this disappearing bird. Some say, its mysterious. But, aren't the answers too obvious?

Lawns that look near perfect that they don't look like grass anymore! Where have the native bushes gone? Did someone ever sing an ode to them? We have replaced so many native varieties of plants and trees with new varieties which may not be sparrow-friendly. What we had in our gardens say when we were children is not what we have these days. They belong to an altogether new world!

There are no idle gardeners at least in the metros. The lawns come treated with Chemicals so that they are easy to maintain. We own multiple cars which demands more parking space- so, even that neatly maintained lawn is diminshing. The insects are all gone from our dwelling places.

Can we even talk about food grains? That may be like stirring the hornet's nest. Harvesting, packing and storing them have become highly mechanized that there are no food grains for the Sparrows to feed on. So much is now being written about with nostalgia about the famous horse pulled cart which carried food grains and the sparrow-trail that it left behind!

Where have the kitchen gardens disappeared? They have even faded from memory. Sparrows oft-visited these small, but rich backyard gardens.

I know there are city-dwellers now who yearn for the home-coming of these chirpy birds. Many keep water, seeds and fruits in their balconies and wait for them! Some have even waited for years for the first Sparrow to turn up!

But I also know of homes that adopt measures to tackle their menace (yes, there are people like that as well!). A terrace with a wash area always had big plastic basins with some water in it- just some left after the wash. Lot of Sparrows used to frequent this terrace for water in the thick of Summer. But, the owner took measures to scare them away! Just so that he has a litter-free terrace!

Thanks to BCIL for distributing those Sparrow Houses for free. And just like the many millions of seedballs that BCIL distributed once, I hope they are able to bring back the Sparrows to Bangalore!

Our living spaces are our own! We simply don't believe in sharing. But, we do talk to our children about Sharing as one of those values that they must possess!

Looking through the long window, I see rather hear Sparrows twittering outside. I see puddles of water here and there. And a lone tree which looks home to many insects. Sparrows are here and Spring must be round the corner!


€mmanuel said...

Very good read indeed. I like the treatment given to the topic - with a tinge of nostalgia. I don't remmeber hearing abt the story of sparrow trail. And yes, sparrow friendly plants are only in forests these days i think!

anna's musings said...

Thanks Emmanuel. These days when people or rather environmentalists talk about Sparrows, they do mention the horse pulled cart. Its more about how food grain storage has changed these days. That may be for the good, but unfortunately Sparrows haven't been able to adapt with all this mechanization and progress.

Sini said...

Minu, it's a nice piece. I like the style. my support for your cause. I really liked it. I live in a campus, which is almost like a forest and has a place for all living beings from neelgai to peacock to birds. I really loved this campus because it is in the city. I really loved your piece because its importance increases because you live in a city where technology commands everything.

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