The survey of house sparrows held in connection with the World House Sparrow Day has registered a steep drop in the sparrow population in Kottayam and Ernakulam city areas. Dr Punnen Kurian Venkadath, secretary of the Tropical Institute of Ecological Sciences (TIES), here which conducted the survey, said that the findings are so alarming that at this rate the sparrow population could vanish from these areas where they had a thriving population earlier.
In Kottayam the number which stood at 740 during the first edition of the survey in 2012, has come down to 150 in the current edition. Likewise the sparrows were found in nearly 10 areas within the town in 2012. “During the sixth edition it has come down to just five” said Dr Kurian. In fact the decline in population was at a steady rate with 610 in 2013; 580 in 2014 and 240 the next year, he pointed out.
Sparrows could be seen in the market place on the Broadway and also at the Marine Drive in Kochi city. The population is 356 at Broadway and 148 at Marine Drive, Dr Kurian said. Kochi came under the survey last year when there were 368 and 142 sparrows respectively were spotted at these spots. Another disturbing finding was that the number of juveniles in the flock too are declining fast, pointing to a not-so-rosy future for these birds. According to him, the new architecture and building materials have been identified as a reason for the sparrows to move out of these areas.
The increasing presence of pesticides and the competition for food, especially from pigeons which also inhabit the same space could also be reasons for the sparrow population in the traditional areas to decline. Other reasons which have been attributed to the trend could be the radiation from the mobile towers and the unprecedented hot weather this summer, he said.
Research fellows and students of Junior Naturalists at TIES participated in the survey. There were ten volunteers at Kottayam covering the 10 traditional spots while in Kochi 15 volunteers covered the stretch of Marine Drive and Broadway market.Posted by Hindu / Posted on Mar , 19 2017