Sparrow sitting on the croutons plant in the rain

Sparrows in my Kharghar home

Today the sparrow’s population has come down drastically and in Mumbai, city side they have become a rare sight. There are groups in Facebook for saving the sparrows and everyone is posting their comments but I doubt if there’s any outcome. I used to live in Anushakti Nagar before and there we hardly got to see the sparrows. Crows and Mynas were abundant and so were monkeys. Crows and monkeys destroy the sparrow’s nest and eat the eggs. Hence the sparrows are rare in areas where these are more. When we shifted to Kharghar a few months back we were thrilled to see many sparrows.

Sparrow in our garden

Sparrow in our gard

A sparrow and it’s family have their nest in the first floor of our building.

Sparrow in our building

Sparrow in our building

Every morning we wake up to the chirping of sparrows and the purple-rumped sunbird. Occasionally, the red-whiskered bulbul visits our house.

A red whiskered or red cheeked bulbul on our window

A red whiskered or red cheeked bulbul on our window

Nowadays during the monsoon it has become a regular visitor. It sits outside our window and knocks on it with its beak, keeps dashing against it and playing.  Since we have brown tinted glass on our window (we can see from inside but outsiders can’t see inside during daytime) the bulbul sees its reflection in the glass and pecks at it. It’s very cute to watch!

A pair of Bulbuls in our garden

A pair of Bulbuls in our garden

A pair of bulbuls outside our window

A pair of bulbuls outside our window

The sunbird always sits on the cloths line outside our window and preens and it’s fun to watch it. Initially I didn’t know which bird it was. When I posted the photos in Facebook group Andalucia Bird Society it was identified as purple crested Sunbird by Mr. Peter Jones and Mr. Berge. Mr. Kanwar Singh of Indian Birds group mentioned that it was purple rumped Sunbird.

Sunbird drinking nectar in the garden

Sunbird drinking nectar in the garden

The purple crested or purple rumped Sunbird has a light yellow belly( lower body) and It’s upper body is dark brown. It has a hint of blue at the crown. It has a thin, long, curved beak. It makes sound from the throat without opening it’s beak.

Sunbird on our clothesline

Sunbird on our clothesline

We keep water in a gas trolley and a small mug for the birds in our garden. Ours is a ground floor flat. Sparrows, sun-birds, pigeons, etc.drink water and bathe in the gas trolley since it’s shallow like a bath tub.

Husband-wife pair relaxing in water bath

Husband-wife pair relaxing in water bath

Watching these birds cheers the mind and makes you forget your worries. They sit on the tulsi plant in groups.  

Sparrow eating tulsi seeds from the tulsi plant

Sparrow eating tulsi seeds from the tulsi plant

sparrows in our garden

sparrows in our garden

Navi Mumbai and especially Kharghar is truly a bird watcher’s paradise!

In monsoons these sparrows sit on the window grill under the comfort of the sunshade and protect themselves from the rain. They warm themselves by puffing themselves up. They look like furry little balls.

Sparrows near the 'Tulasi Maadam' on a rainy day

Sparrows near the ‘Tulasi Maadam’ on a rainy day

Sparrow sitting on the croutons plant in the rain

Sparrow sitting on the croutons plant in the rain

All citizens should keep water for the birds in summer. Wooden shelters should be placed in nook or corner of the house and building so that sparrows can build their nest. One can also take a cardboard box, fill it with cotton and twigs and place it on the attic or drying area or verandah – any place which is accessible to sparrows. Spary neem based preparations and avoid chemical pesticides. These harm the sparrow’s reproductive system when it eats the seeds. I request everyone to do their bit to save the house sparrows.

Post has been published from the author’s blog with due permission from the author: VijayaLaxmi Narayanan. All images are a copyright of the author. 

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Bring Birds of Love to your special someone this Valentine’s Day

Not many know that the association of romantic love with Valentine’s Day was due to the idea of birds getting together for mating. Chaucer, in the Parlement of Foules (1382), wrote “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

It was this idea of Valentine’s Day when birds chose their mates is what led to the tradition of men and women in love sending cards and exchanging gifts on the same day.

With this in mind, Nature Forever Society is inviting romantics to invest in their very own love nest this Valentine’s Day. Instead of common chocolates and flowers that you gift every try something unique and special which carries long-term impact and becomes part of your special someone’s everyday routine.

A nest box will prove the perfect present for nature-loving partners across the county. Not only will a purchase show their partner how much they care, but it will also give a helping hand to Sparrows and other birds, symbolic to love. When he/she wakes up every day to the sweet chirp of Sparrows, the mystic Myna and beautiful sight of Parakeets, it would be a sweet reminder of you.

Nins Purple flower and sparrows

Just like us, the birds also look for a suitable place to cosy up before raising a family. Adopting nest boxes and bird feeders is a perfect present to show a loved one how much you care about them as well as our sparrows and other birds. The bird nests and feeders help to increase the number of potential nesting and feeding sites and improve the chances of birds breeding successfully.

Starting from just INR 95 you receive a beautiful bird feeder and INR 315 onwards nest boxes for a range of birds along with a gift card with your personalised message to give to their loved ones will be delivered along with it.

Adopters can chose from a range of nest boxes to support the bird their loved ones love the most. The nest boxes come in a range of sizes and with different holes to appeal to a variety of bird species.

Adopting a nest box and bird feeder would be a crucial fundraiser to ensure that NFS can continue to work for protecting sparrow and bird habitats across India.

Anyone wishing to adopt the nest boxes can do so via Nature Forever Society’s website at http://www.shopping.natureforever.org/ or give us a call on 09890087988

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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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Delhi Artist makes a difference in 5 minutes every day!

Nin Taneja is the perfect instance of how small lifestyle modifications can make huge difference to our environment. Hailing from Delhi, she’s an artist by profession but with NFS, she’s become an inspiration bird conservationist.

She confesses to not spending more than five minutes each day to save sparrows but we can swear by bit that these precious minutes have proven more than sufficient to accomplish the improvement in sparrow movement. She spends hours of her day looking at their movement, a cost-free relaxation.

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“With the sparrows, I see a lot of other birds visiting the (bird) feeders’ every day. The number keeps increasing and with the sparrows a major change has happened in me and my family. There is always something to look forward to in my small balcony which has about 8-12 sparrows and about 20 Munias visiting for food and water all day through”, she proudly narrates.

The onset of Sparrow and her chirps has had a transforming effect on Nin’s everyday routine. Today, she gets up at 5:30 in the morning to the sweet sound of Sparrow chatter.

But it wasn’t easy. A commitment from her part is what made all of the difference and gradually her family and friends came together for Sparrows. She reminiscences, “With the hectic city lifestyle, it looks nearly impossible to be around nature so I decided to put lot of plants in my balcony and the feeders with water around. After a long wait of 8 months which was well worth it, I had the sparrows coming in. The numbers grew and with them munias, doves, bulbul, magpie, babblers, oriental white eye, tailor bird, sunbirds followed. I have made it happen for me and these are my sparrows. At the same time, I feel indebted to NFS for putting me in this direction.”

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Today, she’s not only happy on making Sparrows a part of her life but also become a bird conservationist in her own right. Her gifts now comprise of bird feeders and bird nests that she personally installs for them and in her spare time, she can often be found talking about birds and their conservation at an individual level.