Sparrows, drongos disappearingThe ubiquitous chirrups of sparrows are rarely heard these days. Nor do drongos sing quite often. Rapid urbanisation and rampant use of pesticides are taking a toll on these humble birds.
The ubiquitous chirrups of sparrows are rarely heard these days. Nor do drongos sing quite often. Rapid urbanisation and rampant use of pesticides are taking a toll on these humble birds.
Their population in the cities has declined in the last one decade, thanks to human encroachment upon their habitats. And these song birds are now flying away from villages as well.
“We used to hear drongos whistle and sparrows chirp even before the rooster crowed at the crack of dawn,” says Ekendra Bahadur Shrestha of Chautara Municipality-9. “It has been a long time since we last sighted drongos.”
Construction of modern buildings that are replacing old mud houses, where the sparrows would find a safe harbour, has created difficulties for these birds of late.
“Rampant use of pesticides poses yet another big threat to these birds, as these chemicals kill the insects on which these birds feed,” says ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral.
The jungle mynas and sparrows used to make nests in old houses, but now such mud houses have been replaced with modern concrete buildings even invillages.
Sparrows and drongos are hard to spot these days, says ornithologist Jyotendra Thakuri of Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN).
According to Thakuri, ornithologists are conducting a research in Kathmandu to find out why the population of these birds is declining so rapidly.
“We are yet to expand our research to districts,” he said.
The decline of population of these birds has become a major cause for concern for experts. Birds are said to be a great indicator of the environment. Declining population of sparrows is a warning sign for humans—when they start to move away, it indicates the environment we are living in is unhealthy.
As sparrows and drongos feed on insects, they not only keep insect population under control but also help humans by eliminating the insects that destroy crops.
“The sight of a drongo chasing an eagle hovering over villages to pounce upon chickens, it seems, will remain only in our memory,” says Jagat Bahadur Shrestha, a local, expressing concern over the declining population of these birds.