THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Another World Sparrow Day passes us on Monday. But Thiruvananthapuram doesn’t have much cause for cheer, for the chirpy little birds that flitted around our homes are fast vanishing. An annual survey by WWF-India has revealed a steep drop in the population of house sparrows in the district.
This year, the headcount in 15 sites revealed a total of 398 birds only, against the last year’s 411 in ten sites. The original ten sites counted only 227 birds - a 45 per cent drop in sparrow population, compared to last year.
“Tallying the numbers from the ten sites where the survey was done in the previous years, the total count stands at 227 in place of 441 in the previous year. This reflects a considerable decline from 2016. But there is a considerable shift of populations to various sites where the birds feel the presence of food and shelter. They prefer the coastal regions where the infrastructure development is considerably on a stagnant mode,” said the WWF-India survey report.
Vallakkadavu-Beemapally region, Sulaiman Street - Poonthura and Valiyathura - Shangumugham revealed huge drop in the number of birds this year. The World Market at Anayara appears to be the most unfriendly place for sparrows as not even a single sparrow was spotted here in 2016 and 2017. This year, the survey also covered Neyyatinkara, Vellarada, Poovar and Nedumangad. As many as 171 house sparrows were spotted in these five locations.
Loss of habitat and inadequate availability of food are the reasons leading to the extinction of these small birds, according to WWF-India.
“Loss of urban vegetation, change in the architecture of houses and other buildings, higher disturbances etc. aggravate habitat loss. The supermarket culture and the change in packing of grains and grams from the traditional funnel shaped paper covers to sealed packing in plastic covers deny the birds access to spilled over grains, grams and cereals,” said WWF-India senior education officer A K Sivakumar and state director Renjan Mathew Varghese in the report.