Bird of the Month of June || Social and Lively Sparrows

For city-dwellers, the sound of sparrows has become so rare that if we happen to have them around our homes, we don't want to move from there. I was once living in a flat in Noida where many sparrows used to frequent my balcony. They were noisy, but I loved having them around even if their chirping woke me up at five every morning. Actually, for me, there's no better sound to wake up to than that of a bunch of talkative sparrows having a heated debate.

For city-dwellers, the sound of sparrows has become so rare that if we happen to have them around our homes, we don't want to move from there. I was once living in a flat in Noida where many sparrows used to frequent my balcony. They were noisy, but I loved having them around even if their chirping woke me up at five every morning. Actually, for me, there's no better sound to wake up to than that of a bunch of talkative sparrows having a heated debate. 


And I particularly remember Summer mornings when I was really young. In those days, it was pretty normal to sleep on the terrace. Water Coolers were not that common and Air Conditioners were unheard of apart from in Computer labs and Cinema Halls. And despite the heat, despite the humidity, sparrows would come calling. And that is why, sparrows are our bird of the month of June.

And I particularly remember Summer mornings when I was really young. In those days, it was pretty normal to sleep on the terrace. Water Coolers were not that common and Air Conditioners were unheard of apart from in Computer labs and Cinema Halls. And despite the heat, despite the humidity, sparrows would come calling. And that is why, sparrows are our bird of the month of June.  

I also remember those days when sparrows would make nests in our balcony, and at times inside the ceiling fans too. We would see them and hear them all day long. They were our constant companion. In fact they were so common that we took them for granted for really long. For too long, actually. We took them for granted till the day they vanished from our lives. And we didn't even notice their dwindling numbers. Isn't it strange that we did not notice the growing silence?    Anyway, going back to sparrows, apart from the common house sparrows, there are three other sparrows we have managed to click over the years. The first one is the Russet Sparrow, which we spotted at our home in Himachal Pradesh. At first glance they looked similar to the house sparrow, but something didn't seem quite right.

I also remember those days when sparrows would make nests in our balcony, and at times inside the ceiling fans too. We would see them and hear them all day long. They were our constant companion. In fact they were so common that we took them for granted for really long. For too long, actually. We took them for granted till the day they vanished from our lives. And we didn't even notice their dwindling numbers. Isn't it strange that we did not notice the growing silence?

Anyway, going back to sparrows, apart from the common house sparrows, there are three other sparrows we have managed to click over the years. The first one is the Russet Sparrow, which we spotted at our home in Himachal Pradesh. At first glance they looked similar to the house sparrow, but something didn't seem quite right. 

At first I thought it was an anomalous single specimen, but then realized that all males had a rufus head. It is because of this coloration that this sparrow is also known as the Cinnamon Tree Sparrow.    Another important characteristic of the Russet Sparrow is its song. It is supposed to have the sweetest and the most melodious voice of all the sparrows. Unfortunately I did not get to hear its song that day.

At first I thought it was an anomalous single specimen, but then realized that all males had a rufus head. It is because of this coloration that this sparrow is also known as the Cinnamon Tree Sparrow.


Another important characteristic of the Russet Sparrow is its song. It is supposed to have the sweetest and the most melodious voice of all the sparrows. Unfortunately I did not get to hear its song that day. 

The other sparrow we have managed to click lives at the other end of the world, in Costa Rica. There are about 26 species of sparrows and finches in Costa Rica. We were fortunate to come across a few. The most remarkable was the Rufous-Collared Sparrow. This little bird has a white head with black stripes and a pronounced rufous stripe around the neck. Because of this striking coloration, these birds are easy to spot from a distance.

The other sparrow we have managed to click lives at the other end of the world, in Costa RicaThere are about 26 species of sparrows and finches in Costa Rica. We were fortunate to come across a few. The most remarkable was the Rufous-Collared Sparrow. This little bird has a white head with black stripes and a pronounced rufous stripe around the neck. Because of this striking coloration, these birds are easy to spot from a distance. 



These sparrows are found almost everywhere and aren't intimidated by human presence. It is as commonly sighted in suburban settings as in the urban ones, but is mostly missing from densely forested areas. They feed on seeds, fallen grain, insects, and spiders, and are friendly and versatile.    The third sparrow is the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It is very difficult to differentiate between the common house sparrow and the tree sparrow. They appear exactly the same at least to a layman. However, after some research I found that the tree sparrows are slightly smaller than the house sparrows and are less aggressive.

These sparrows are found almost everywhere and aren't intimidated by human presence. It is as commonly sighted in suburban settings as in the urban ones, but is mostly missing from densely forested areas. They feed on seeds, fallen grain, insects, and spiders, and are friendly and versatile. 

The third sparrow is the Eurasian Tree SparrowIt is very difficult to differentiate between the common house sparrow and the tree sparrow. They appear exactly the same at least to a layman. However, after some research I found that the tree sparrows are slightly smaller than the house sparrows and are less aggressive.


Even though in absolute numbers, most species of sparrows are Least Concern as per IUCN categorization, but urband populations at least in and around Delhi have seen severe decline. I hope the current Covid-19 situation gives these populations some time to revive. That will be one good silver lining to have.

Even though in absolute numbers, most species of sparrows are Least Concern as per IUCN categorisation, but urban populations at least in and around Delhi have seen severe decline. I hope the current Covid-19 situation gives these populations some time to revive. That will be one good silver lining to have. 

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