'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

If comments are proving difficult to do, please email me; sleepysparrow@yahoo.co.uk

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Slum Bird Millionaire

It’s budget day. When the chancellor opens his red box, we won’t be getting richer, times are hard.  There’s a letter from my bank saying thanks for lending us all your money but we’re now going to give you less for it.  Sorry, but times are hard. 
Today is World Sparrow day and times are hard for house sparrows too.  Their numbers have fallen by 70% in the UK, but they are in decline all over the world. 

I read a headline in a newspaper on line, ‘Homeless in Mumbai.’  It wasn’t referring to humans but to the plight of house sparrows.  The article told how conservationist Mohammed Dilawar has designed artificial nests and feeders so that the vanishing sparrows return to Mumbai.  He was also the man instrumental in declaring March 20th World Sparrow Day.   
The authorities in Delhi have adopted the house sparrow as the state bird in a bid to halt any further decline in their numbers.  ‘We will take steps to ensure that the sparrow returns, feels safe and is able to live peacefully in the city,’ said a Chief Minister.  What a noble undertaking.  All over India, people are being encouraged to ‘chirp for the sparrow’ and become ‘sparrow supporters.’ You can read their poems and stories about sparrows on the web site www.worldsparrowday.org .

Birds are major indicators of the health of our environment, which is why people spend so much time and energy monitoring, counting and ringing them.   If a bird once so common is now in such serious trouble, something’s out of kilter out there.  Their drastic decline has to have an impact on us. 

Male sparrow in the box on the end of my house
I switch on my TV, not to see what comes out of the Chancellor's red box, but to see what’s going on in the bird box on the end of my house.  The sparrows are busy.  Their nest is coming along nicely.  He flies in with a piece of dry grass, faffs and fiddles, pushing it into place with his beak. 

 She appears at the entrance with a feather and he flies off, squeezing past her.   Sometimes they don’t bring any material into the nest, just fix and tidy what’s already there, forcing the scratchy grass into a soft circle by turning their plump bodies around and around.  

One in, one out

I hope bird boxes don’t count when it comes to the bedroom tax because I have ten.  They are all occupied though.
Charlie has been meaning to re-cement the ridge tiles, too late Charlie!


Barry Hankey said...

I hadn't heard of WSD until your blog. I'll put it in my diary for next year. The sparrow is very much in evidence on Symi in the Dodecanese, one of very few species you see there, though I don't know how numbers relate to what they were in the past. Don't get too complacent about escaping the bedroom tax .... they may get you on the mansion tax with all those rooms.

laidbackviews said...

Sparrows in good voice round Grasshopper Towers too; much more chirp than said Chancellor

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

Goodness me you are close to us! So glad you like the blog. I like yours too. I am feeling sorry for sparrows and all small birds today and the snow piles by. Bring back spring! Are you interested in yoga at all and if so do you know there is a fabulous teacher who teaches in Northop and Sychdyn? If you are, let me know and I will tell you more about the classes.

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