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Where Have The Birds Gone?

– By Hema Ravi
(Teacher, St Mark’s School, Chennai)

“Chittukuruvi muttham kodhuthu” (meaning: The sparrow kissed me) brings back fond memories of our younger days. Our summers were always spent watching these birds build their nests in the niches of our homes, in the attic, and any other tiny corner that was away from human eyes. Today, these birds seem to be declining slowly. The other day, I took a walk in the Theosophical Society, and once again, I enjoyed the chirping and familiar sound of these birds. (Long, long afterwards, American poet H.W. Longfellow’s poem comes to mind)

Watching and hearing the sparrows was a feast to the eye and the ear indeed! I would like to share this verse with Young World readers.

Seed eating passerine bird,
Small, pink legged, conical bill
Grey brown, black throated males,
Grey brown with eye bordered females,
Black and tawny streaks on back,
Black winged feathers with white patches
Grayish white breasted birds.

Busying themselves in spring with
Straw, paper, twigs and grass
Nesting on low branches, in our homes, in sheds.
Children watched with interest nests in their homes,
Small birds perched on ledges or lofts.
Today, these have become a rarity,
Where have these sparrows gone?

Hema Ravi

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A Lifelong Affair with Sparrows

Written by Apurba Prosad Basu

I fell in love with this little magical bird at the age of 36, in the year 1974, when I was house-bound because of a fracture of my left foot metatarsal, while playing un-habitual football with the local boys. My left foot was then plastered and so I was rather locked in my room with my son of age four.

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