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Sparrows buy home in Guwahati

  • Sparrows guwahati
    Sparrows guwahati

While rapid urbanization has taken a toll on the population of tiny sparrows in the cities all over the world, the picture in Guwahati -- the capital city of Assam-- is different. Here, thousands of sparrows are seen adapting to urbanization. Further, their numbers are also on an increase in this northeastern city. Mubina Akhtar, a environment journalist and activist surveyed the birds through 2011 and the last year and said the bird has adapted to a much harsh lifestyle. She revealed that her survey, carried over a period of two years, found community roost of the bird in the residential as well as commercial hubs in the city. Akhtar reported about a community roost of some thousands of sparrows in the Asomiya Pratidin last August. The roost on the busy GS road was the biggest she came across. A more recent report of Akhtar published in the 'Huffington Post' blog says that "modern life-styles notwithstanding, the house sparrow is going to stay and continue to be a "hanger-on of man, as I see the bird slowly adapting to a life in the concrete slabs! It is neither the mud-and-thatch dwelling (a rarity), nor the match box. Rather, the bird has learned the art of carving out a comfortable niche of its own in the little openings of the concrete slabs of the city's flyovers!"

A Bombay Natural History Society's survey titled "Citizen Sparrow", found that the once-ubiquitous sparrows are now seen in fewer places than in 2005. "Where they are still found the numbers are lower than earlier observed and fewer nests are seen as well. This suggests sparrows have indeed declined and the low number of nests might mean that they are continuing to decline" said the report. On contrary to this report the number and nests are increasing. Sparrows are the most widely-distributed birds in the world. They nest in urban or rural settings wherever they find human habitation.

Factors like dwellings, eating and living habits of the people and land-use could be impacting the availability of shelter and food for the sparrows. The lifestyles of people of rural and semi-urban areas seem to be more conducive for the survival of the birds. Chandan Kumar Duarah, a science writer and conservation expert says that the availability of Assam type houses and trees in many areas of Guwahati make favorite haunts for the sparrows. In Chandmari area the density of sparrows are highest only because of trees and Assam-type houses in the area. In Bhangagarh they are living in remaining trees and adapting in concrete structures including multi- storied buildings, commercial and official flats. He said that pests, worms and other insects which are main food for sparrows are available in the city due to its tropical geographical position but the food system is threatened due to rampant uses of chemicals and toxic wastes exposed to the city’s soil and water.

Akhtar said that she has already undertaken an awareness campaign so that the people don't cut down the trees where the birds are taking shelter. "The deodar trees that sheltered a large roost once were cut down in the Bhangagarh area. When I enquired about the reason, the host simply replied that it was because of the droppings!" Akhtar lamented.

Photos: Mubina Akhtar

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Raktim Baruah's picture

Journalist based in Guwahati. Mobile: 9706390337. Email: raktimbaruah20@gmail.com

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Is amendment to Wildlife Protection Act needed?

17 May 2008 - 7:23pm | Daya Nath Singh
Of late the Assam government is contemplating to make changes in the anti-poaching laws by increasing the provisions of punishment from three years to ten years and doubling the fine to Rs.50,000. The Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi recently declared that his government would amend section 51 of the Wildlife

Protection Act to make punishment under the Act, more stringent. Like all other matters a section of people believe that this statement is also politically motivated keeping in mind to protect certain vested interests.

The chief minister's declaration has come out after a dozen of rhinos in Kaziranga National Park and Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Orang, have been killed by the poachers during last four months. The common people have doubt over the fruitful result of the amendment of the law, which seems as ridiculous. In their opinion trouble is not with the existing laws. The problem is on the front of its implementation, on which the state government has totally failed. Despite tight security arrangements, the question is, how the poachers get access to the valuable wildlife of the state without involvement of some 'insiders'?

Earlier, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and a few NGOs, had demanded an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleging that some high officials of the state forest department have nexus with the poachers and anti-social elements, due to which the incidents of killings and poaching of rhinos have recently increased. The forest minister, Rakibul Hussain has also sought to get the poaching incidents probed by the CBI.

Under the circumstances, there is no point in amending the existing law, instead the need is to strictly follow the guidelines given and implement the same in true words and spirit. Going beyond the burning issues is just to divert the public attention like any other political issue with an intention to protect some body in one's own house.

It may be mentioned here that the state forest department has failed to book a large number of anti-social elements and poachers of rhinos. In such circumstances when criminals are not apprehended, who would pay the fine of Rs.50,000 or even if it is rupees one lakh. It is better for the state government to wait and see the result of CBI investigation and book the people involved in such crimes, even if they are the government employees or high officials.

India has only Dhoni featuring in top ten in ODI rankings

9 Jul 2007 - 5:38am | editor
Dubai: For a country which idolizes its cricketers the latest ODI rankings are a rude eye opener. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the only India to feature anywhere in the top 10 list. Dhoni has been ranked fifth among all batsmen in the world while Captain Rahul Dravid is a distant second in the 15th spot in the latest International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings released here. Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are nowhere in the list.Australian captain Ricky Ponting is the No.1 batsman and is just one point short of the 800-mark. Shaun Pollock of South Africa has the distinction of being the top bowler as well as the top all rounder. The detailed list has been given below.In the meantime, what is seen as heralding a new era, M/s SRS ( Sachin, Rahul, Sourav) have jointly announced that they would not be playing in the Twenty 20s world cup as they see it as a game for youngsters and feels that the time has come for the Indian team to groom new people. Ranking Batsmen:1. Ricky Ponting (Australia) 799 rating points2. Kevin Pietersen (England) 7953. Mike Hussey (Australia) 7664. Matthew Hayden (Australia) 7465. Mahendra Dhoni (India) 7366. Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies) 7357. Adam Gilchrist (Australia) 7298. Michael Clarke (Australia) 7289. Andrew Symonds (Australia) 72610. Graeme Smith (South Africa) 725Ranking Bowlers:1. Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 8762. Nathan Bracken (Australia) 7943. Shane Bond (New Zealand) 7904. Chaminda Vaas (Sri Lanka) 7535. Muttiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka) 7416. Makhaya Ntini (South Africa) 7057. Daniel Vettori (New Zealand) 6978. Brett Lee (Australia) 6869. Abdur Razzaq (Bangladesh) 67310. Andre Nel (South Africa) 664Ranking All-rounders:1. Shaun Pollock (South Africa) 4772. Jacques Kallis (South Africa) 3823. Chris Gayle (West Indies) 3704. Andrew Flintoff (England) 362

5. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) 341

Biplab Khaund

Chhat Puja celebrated in Namrup

14 Nov 2018 - 12:35pm | Akshaya Pranab Kalita

The largest ancient Hindu festival, dedicated to Lord Surya and Chhathi Maiya (known to be the wife of Surya), Chhath Puja is unique to the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and the country of Nepal. It is the only Vedic festival that is dedicated to the Sun God. The festival was celebrated in Namrup and it's neighbouring area with flavours on Tuesday.