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Old 11th January 2011, 22:08   #1
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Default Help birds/ animals survive in cities

In the hectic daily grind, we are becoming immune to the changes around us. However these changes impact our fellow residents a lot; some that cannot help themselves. I am sure that many of us have memories of chirping birds from our childhood. However, how many of us hear those sounds around our apartment buildings today? One of the most noticeable has been the decline in the numbers of the once common house sparrow. If there are still some birds around your apartments as of date, there is no guarantee these will be around in even 5 years time.
How can we ensure that we provide the little basic things that these birds need? I can mention a couple of things that can be done, and I appreciate suggestions from fellow bhpians
- Maintain a steady supply of water (and grains if possible) at an easily visible place (like the terrace or the parking area
-Provide some shaded area during summer (like a small umbrella, bird house or canopy)
- The area should be such that the birds are not threatened by external factors (perhaps cats or kids!)
- It should be ok if this area gets a bit dirty by bird poop, so obviously this cannot be your balcony/ window sill (unless one is fine with this)

We could also extend this discussion to include other animals. Unfortunately, I have no pointers in this topic other than not being cruel to them (throwing stones etc)
I appreciate your tips; they would be useful for those among us who would like to do something about it.
Please restrict discussion on how to help – let us not digress into arguing whether we should help or not

Mods, please merge thread if already existing; I could not find anything relevant to this topic

Last edited by selfdrive : 11th January 2011 at 22:10. Reason: formatting
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Old 11th January 2011, 22:34   #2
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

Around my house there were no squirrels a year ago. I saw a couple ones in my garden and kept a small bowl of water and started keeping peanuts for food. After a year now there are more then 14 of them and every few months I see the oldies bringing their kids to feed and they play around every day in the garden. If I miss their morning feed, they let me know by making a hell of noise.

I have also seen so many new species of birds in my garden which I never knew even existed in India. It's like a bird century now, every now and then I keep seeing new ones but what really worries me is the total vanishing act of sparrows in my city. There is some chap in Chandigarh who is actually trying to save them. Have any of the rest seen any sparrows lately?
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Old 12th January 2011, 10:12   #3
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Nice Thread.

We have a small garden behind our home and we have been putting out food for years now. Pigeons, squirrels and crows now have their daily meal there. But this also attracts rats. This has not bothered us much, but, beware of uninvited guests.

We used to have hoardes of sparrows at backyard, but they seem to have vanished in the last 5-8 years or so.

Suggestions would be, for any one starting on this,
1) Be patient. It takes time for other birds/animals to realise that food is being put out for them. It also takes a while for them to start trusting.
2) Do not be too bothered if some unintended animals/birds (ants, crows etc.,) start showing up at the place where you put out food. They also have a stomach.
3) Once they get used to the food, the birds and small animals will frequent your place. Be prepared
4) Be responsible in what you put out and ensure that the feed is as close to the usual diet of birds/animals.
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Old 12th January 2011, 11:08   #4
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

Felt very good reading this thread.
The points mentioned are very thoughtful and it will atleast give a chance for our kids to watch these wonderful creatures.
When I used to stay near Sarjapur road,I used to frequent the nearby lake for morning walks.Last heard,many citizen groups have done a phenomenal job in reclaiming the lost glory of that lake.
I get emails with pictures of some rare birds which are making a visit to that lake every morning.
Glad that some good work is happening due to the "common man"
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Old 12th January 2011, 12:52   #5
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

Humans since their very beginning have had one collective agenda on their mind (as if destined to do so) - control nature for own perceived "comfort".

Which needless to say makes it uncomfortable for other species.
Cities are the prime workshops of this human nature.

Helping these creatures requires a real big sized effort.


PS: I see sparrow everyday near the office tapri
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Old 12th January 2011, 12:59   #6
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
Around my house there were no squirrels a year ago. I saw a couple ones in my garden and kept a small bowl of water and started keeping peanuts for food. After a year now there are more then 14 of them and every few months I see the oldies bringing their kids to feed and they play around every day in the garden. If I miss their morning feed, they let me know by making a hell of noise.

I have also seen so many new species of birds in my garden which I never knew even existed in India. It's like a bird century now, every now and then I keep seeing new ones but what really worries me is the total vanishing act of sparrows in my city. There is some chap in Chandigarh who is actually trying to save them. Have any of the rest seen any sparrows lately?
Very nice to hear your gesture... Im sure its a beautiful sight to watch different kinds of animals and birds calling your garden home

I wish I could do something like this but I stay in an apartment with restrictions :(

Whenever I get a chance to feed a poor puppy or take care of a wounded animal I jump into action. 4 days back a pigeon lost its way and collapsed in my staircase, it had hurt its feet, cleaned the wound, fed it some water (wouldnt eat grains, i tried) and let go. She flew beautifully once let in open air. Such contentment!!!

Im so concerned about sparrows now, they are nowhere to be seen!!! Heck as kids we were fedup of them roosting in the crevices of our roofs and chased em away. I want em backkkk now!!!!!

Last edited by The Wolf : 12th January 2011 at 13:01.
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Old 12th January 2011, 13:08   #7
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randhawa View Post
I have also seen so many new species of birds in my garden which I never knew even existed in India. It's like a bird century now, every now and then I keep seeing new ones but what really worries me is the total vanishing act of sparrows in my city. There is some chap in Chandigarh who is actually trying to save them. Have any of the rest seen any sparrows lately?
@Randhawa, thats great to hear, and I am sure that you would be feeling happy to help an entire family. I think the only thing to do is to create a back up for yourself, so the pooranimals dont suffer when you are travelling etc. The only downside I can see is that these animals then fail to hunt for themselves, but I guess that wouldnt be sustainable in any case. do you have any details for this chap in chandigarh - perhaps he can help with some advise in terms of diet or dos and donts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushikr View Post
We used to have hoardes of sparrows at backyard, but they seem to have vanished in the last 5-8 years or so.
Suggestions would be, for any one starting on this,
1) Be patient. It takes time for other birds/animals to realise that food is being put out for them. It also takes a while for them to start trusting.
2) Do not be too bothered if some unintended animals/birds (ants, crows etc.,) start showing up at the place where you put out food. They also have a stomach.
3) Once they get used to the food, the birds and small animals will frequent your place. Be prepared
4) Be responsible in what you put out and ensure that the feed is as close to the usual diet of birds/animals.
@kaushikr, your suggestions are very helpful. I think the sparrows reauire particular diet and are easily scared away by the bigger birds, pigeons, crows etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallik9 View Post
Felt very good reading this thread.
The points mentioned are very thoughtful and it will atleast give a chance for our kids to watch these wonderful creatures.
When I used to stay near Sarjapur road,I used to frequent the nearby lake for morning walks.Last heard,many citizen groups have done a phenomenal job in reclaiming the lost glory of that lake.
I get emails with pictures of some rare birds which are making a visit to that lake every morning.
Glad that some good work is happening due to the "common man"
@hallik9, its great to hear this about sarjapur road lake; I remember it being very desolate a few years ago, so it would be a wonderful sight now.
If it is not too much trouble, can you get some info from these groups on what they are doing right? perhaps we can learn and implement it in our own way in our cities. I am sure there are some efforts in Pune too, its a matter of co-ordinating efforts

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Humans since their very beginning have had one collective agenda on their mind (as if destined to do so) - control nature for own perceived "comfort".
Which needless to say makes it uncomfortable for other species.
Cities are the prime workshops of this human nature.
Helping these creatures requires a real big sized effort.
PS: I see sparrow everyday near the office tapri
@alpha1, you are absolutely correct, I dont think anyone should consider themselves human if they hurt other living beings. would you like to be the initiator of a small change? you could begin by feeding the sparrow at your tapri. for the first few days, you may want to leave the grains there and ignore the bird. they will eat at their leisure till they are used to the fact that somebody is feeding them. let us know how it goes - you may see a small flock soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wolf View Post
I wish I could do something like this but I stay in an apartment with restrictions :(
Whenever I get a chance to feed a poor puppy or take care of a wounded animal I jump into action. 4 days back a pigeon lost its way and collapsed in my staircase, it had hurt its feet, cleaned the wound, fed it some water (wouldnt eat grains, i tried) and let go. She flew beautifully once let in open air. Such contentment!!!
Im so concerned about sparrows now, they are nowhere to be seen!!! Heck as kids we were fedup of them roosting in the crevices of our roofs and chased em away. I want em backkkk now!!!!!
@the wolf - great job sir, that was very kind of you. It shows that we can help a lot by small actions just by treating them like fellow living beings and not consider them as trouble. If you live in an apartment, you could perhaps use the top terrace or a part of the parking lot? I am sure there are restrictions in a building society, but it should be ok (assuming your building isnt 40 floors high!)
I couldnt agree more on your observation about the sparrows

All
I know the next discussion in the topic would be vegetarianism, but lets keep that as a personal choice to maintain the objective of this thread.

Last edited by selfdrive : 12th January 2011 at 13:15.
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Old 12th January 2011, 13:09   #8
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

I do not know the reason why sparrows have vanished.I dont see them any more in Hyderabad.

Sparrows are such lovely small birds,have literally grown up seeing them every day in our ancestral home in Raichur,North Karnataka.
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Old 12th January 2011, 13:26   #9
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It won't help. Part of the reason birds have vanished are pigeons, who multiply and multiply. So unless you can get rid of the pigeons, the sparrows are not coming back,
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Old 12th January 2011, 14:13   #10
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It won't help. Part of the reason birds have vanished are pigeons, who multiply and multiply. So unless you can get rid of the pigeons, the sparrows are not coming back,
Tanveer Bhai.

But my childhood memories contradict your statement.

In my home town Raichur (KN),we use to have professional pigeon sellers at almost every chowk and many of my friends use to breed pigeons on their terrace, but then i use to spot sparrows in every nuke and corner.
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Old 12th January 2011, 14:15   #11
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Tanveer Bhai.

But my childhood memories contradict your statement.

In my home town Raichur (KN),we use to have professional pigeon sellers at almost every chowk and many of my friends use to breed pigeons on their terrace, but then i use to spot sparrows in every nuke and corner.
It depends on the ecosystem. In most new cities, pigeon numbers are now overwhelming other local species. Due to their hardiness they are outnumbering every other species.
If you do not believe me, speak to an Ornithologist. You will then understand the current pigeon menace.
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Old 12th January 2011, 14:36   #12
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The absence of Sparrows from the bustling areas of the city is attributed to the loss of habitat, not due to other birds. Sparrows don't nest in trees, they make their nests in small nooks and crannies. Yes, you might not believe but our old buildings and houses provided ample nesting space for the sparrows but once those old builds and other structures were replaced with spanking new buildings and shopping complexes they lost the their habitat. So in this fashion one after the other localities have become devoid of sparrows and now you only see them in the towns on the outskirts of Bangalore where they are still chirping.

I still remember, my house backyard used to be frequented by sparrows until a decade back and we used to put rice grains to them but once the area around developed, they reduced in numbers and now there are no sparrows.

Urbanization is the cause. Pigeons and crows are more adaptable than sparrows so you still see them.
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Old 12th January 2011, 14:43   #13
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Default Re: Help birds/ animals survive in cities

There seems to be an initiative in Mumbai for helping sparrows. I am not sure of the contact details but here is the link:
Not feeling too chirpy - Hindustan Times#

Some more useful links:
BBC - Nature UK - How to help house sparrows - it seems that sparrows need insects, which would be more offputting to those living in apartments. The issue is also prevalent in the UK, so it seems that we are following their footsteps even where we should not.

Baby sparrow (help!) - Wild About Britain - what to do if you want to help a baby sparrow. Unlikely you will find one, but useful info nevertheless. I just learned that milk is not good for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zaks View Post
The absence of Sparrows from the bustling areas of the city is attributed to the loss of habitat, not due to other birds. Sparrows don't nest in trees, they make their nests in small nooks and crannies. Yes, you might not believe but our old buildings and houses provided ample nesting space for the sparrows but once those old builds and other structures were replaced with spanking new buildings and shopping complexes they lost the their habitat. So in this fashion one after the other localities have become devoid of sparrows and now you only see them in the towns on the outskirts of Bangalore where they are still chirping.
Urbanization is the cause. Pigeons and crows are more adaptable than sparrows so you still see them.
@zaks, Apparently sparrows are also quite aggressive. Any doubts on who will win in a fight between a pigeon and a sparrow? I think its more due to the lack of their food (insects)

Last edited by selfdrive : 12th January 2011 at 14:46. Reason: added response to new post
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Old 12th January 2011, 14:57   #14
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You will then understand the current pigeon menace.
I totally agree with that, the no of pigeons in our society are so much that even the common crows are scared to step in their territory. And the amount of filth the pigeosn create is unbelievable. Also the pigeons are very dangerous in the vicinity of small children as per a couple of pediatric doctors I visited since they carry a no of respiratroy problem inducing germs in their wings. One flap of wing near a child and the childis exposed to huge infectional possibilities.
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Old 12th January 2011, 15:20   #15
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Also the pigeons are very dangerous in the vicinity of small children as per a couple of pediatric doctors I visited since they carry a no of respiratroy problem inducing germs in their wings. One flap of wing near a child and the childis exposed to huge infectional possibilities.
Pigeons can cause diseases such as Salmonella, Histoplasmosis, encephalitis, toxoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis and Psittacosis.

Dust from the accumulated pigeon droppings carries fungal spores that can cause Histoplasmosis, a sometimes fatal respiratory disease.
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