For whom the bell tolls…A few thoughts on World Sparrow Day

Another World Sparrow Day is here today, on 20th March. A day to remind us to protect the little winged friends called sparrows that are going to be in the endangered list very soon. The House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) is a close associate of man and is seen in rural as well as urban settings. They build nests in nooks and crannies of houses and other buildings.

Sparrows need small cavities to build their nests. They love to be around people and are close associates of human beings. Market places were favourite haunts of theirs in the past. They feed on grains hence were seen near groceries, thriving on the spilt out grains from sacks. In Malayalam they are called ‘Angadikkuruvi‘ ‘sparrow of the market’.

We hardly see troop of sparrows chirping and ransacking small market places these days as super market culture and packed grocery items and food stuff deny the sparrows the food they are looking for.

Surveys show that there is an appalling drop in the house sparrow population. Ecological imbalance, lack of favourable conditions to thrive on, emergence of modern architecture taking place along with urbanisation, excessive use of chemical pesticides, changing life style of man, radiation from the tele communication towers and so on attribute to the disappearance of these petite friends of Man. Gardens and bushes and small trees are their recreation spots. Their survival is at stake because of the over use of insecticides.

Bird lovers and conservators have started to create awareness in the general public to save the sparrows from the threat of becoming extinct.

World Sparrow Day is an initiative by many national and international organizations across the world to raise awareness of the conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds. People share ideas on how to protect the hapless birds and on preserving the biodiversity.

A baby Sparrow at our backyard in Phnom Penh

Humans are the major reason for making these sparrows homeless. We can help them flourish by not depriving them their natural habitat. The drop in their number affects the food chain system. Every species on mother Earth has a role of its own and the absence of one creates a vacuum that affects the whole system.

We can once again enjoy the cheerful chirp and tweet of the sparrows by throwing or spreading a few grains, by keeping some water to quench their thirst in the harsh Summer, by hanging wooden bird nests or earthen pots or cardboard boxes with holes in the balconies or courtyards for these feathered guests. Sparrows are garden birds. By maintaining an eco friendly environment we can bring back the sparrows to their former status..

Those were my Phnom Penh mornings!

I have a special place in my heart for these little friends. My love for them began in Cambodia where the house we lived in was home of many sparrows. My mornings used to start with their cheerful chirrups and they were my constant companions there. They stole my heart and I have posted blogs dedicated to the house sparrows. By naming my blog House Sparrow, I honoured my little friends. The unpolluted air and the lush green all around may be the reason the house sparrows flourish in Cambodia.

Here I’m flooding my page with the pictures of my winged friends…

Do we look intimidating?

we don’t sow, but we do reap! Munching on our curry leaves

Bedtime for the birdies

You sleep, I keep watch

Love is in the air! Wooing time…He stoops to conquer!

Lovers’ tiff

In a pensive mood…deep thoughts on a bleak future?

If these feathered friends are at risk and are on the verge of extinction, whatever is causing that risk can be threatening to us humans too. Whatever affects one in the universe affects us all. I would like to quote a few lines from Donne. I would like to interpret Donne’s ‘Man’ as Man or his fellow beings. They all are woven into the fabric of the universe. One can not stand alone.

John Donne (1572-1631), Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris:

“Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Hope we don’t have to sing an elegy for these sweet little birds.


4 thoughts on “For whom the bell tolls…A few thoughts on World Sparrow Day

  1. Such a wealth of info my friend!!!just a few corrections here n there…selamat malam

    Sent from my Samsung device


  2. What an interesting post. I’m watching “my” flock right now, and enjoying them tremendously. The situation you have is quite different from ours. This species may be our most abundant bird – in any case, they certainly are plentiful, and not threatened at all. Here’s an article you might find interesting.

    Of course, Texas still is not an urbanized environment on the whole. We have our large (very large!) cities, but even in a place like Houston, they tend to spread, and there’s plenty of cover, food, and so on for the birds. Your post is a good reminder that what is true for one area may not be for another. On the other hand, peoples’ attention here to creating wildlife habitat may be part of what’s helping the birds thrive.


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