About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

November 11, 2008

The case of missing sparrows


Last week I drove down to Mysore on a Business visit in the the company of my friend & Business colleague Madhu Shetty, who I must say kept me in humored conversation throughout the 5 Hour to & fro drive with his unique perspectives & insights on many mundane things like Palaces, Politics, Business etc., As we stopped by the Deputy Commissioners (DC) office for a scheduled business meeting with the DC , my attention drew to 2 large black Siberian cranes strolling in the vast open lawns surrounding the DC’s office. I turned to Madhu & wondered how such exotic birds wandered in the open & that too in the middle of the city? He was quick to remind me that the birds were from the nearby Rangantittu bird sanctuary and as he lit one of his countless cigarettes asked me a rather innocuous question; have you seen any Sparrows in the open now a days?

As I set myself wondering & recollecting my flash Grey memory as to the last time I saw a sparrow in the open, it suddenly struck me that HE WAS RIGHT! It has been ages since I heard the relentless chirping of house Sparrows and their common sight that I had been used to in my childhood days. Now making up a case for a missing small common bird may be insignificant compared to issues like Global warming & other larger environmental issues we face today but is a definite pointer to the relentless pressure that rapid urbanization & development is exerting on the Habitat of such Birds . Madhu went on to say that the proliferation of low frequency electromagnetic waves that we use in today’s ICT (information & communication technology) applications may have driven this birds away. That may well be true but there could be other reasons as well - Fewer trees, polluted air, rising temperature and dipping water tables. Take the case of Bangalore, a study done by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) points that urban development has taken away 65% of the vegetation during the last 2 decades. Now that means far lesser greenery that is so vital for the birds feeding & nesting habits. Rapid concrete cover is effecting a twin blow, it is reducing greenery & at the same time depleting ground water table since bore wells spring up simultaneously. Tress can sustain ground water table that in turn sustains greenery and the birds but all this is getting destroyed in a vicious cycle of urban side effects. There is another angle to this issue, trees like Gulmohur , a native of Madagascar & an icon of Bangalore greenery is not suited as nesting tree for birds . So are Eucalyptus and Acadia , that are used to provide artificial green cover are not native trees and neither to they provide natural habitat for the birds and insects nor do good for the soil.

A small silver lining to this problem is that of late many Pvt Cos and Social groups have come together to bring back the Green cover to the city . The former funding the social initiatives of the latter as a part of their Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) programmes.
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