Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nagercoil Vegetable Markets...A Heaven For The Rare Bird Now...Sparrows!


WELCOME PAIR: Sparrows searching for worms and insects among discarded vegetables at the APPTA market in Nagercoil.
I love Nagercoil! I wrote about Nagercoil cutting on plastic usage in these posts, here because of the efforts taken by the Nagercoil Collector. He had written what steps he had taken to implement it. A person who came from that place said that they are still following it!

Now, this article has made me to think of visiting this place, Nagercoil, soon.  I would love to visit this market where they respect this bird and facilitate their numbers to grow!

A haven for sparrows...this article came in The Hindu, yesterday! I was so happy reading the article...still some good people are there who just don't go after money and be selfish all the time.  These people are pampering the small birds to live among them, in so many ways.  Now, to some interesting parts of the article:

The first thing a customer will notice at a mega vegetable market here is the constant flutter of sparrows that have found a new and safe home here.

Quite surprisingly, this tiny species, which faces a threat elsewhere because of a host of factors, is thriving here.  Sparrows nest on wooden, bamboo and paper boxes and clay pots fixed on the walls and roofs of the shops and feed on seeds of coriander plants, worms and caterpillars emerging out of decayed vegetables and fruits.

It is estimated that about 400 pairs of sparrows have occupied the complex, in which the market run by Agriculture Products Producers and Traders’ Association (APPTA) is located.

Since 2007, when the initiative to help the sparrow population began, organisations like Rotary Club have supplied several boxes, but many more are needed.

Conversion of tiled-roof houses into concrete buildings, conversion of backyard wells — a traditional nesting site — into septic tanks, lack of feeding ground, proliferation of motor vehicles and noise pollution are some of the factors that have greatly reduced the sparrow population in Kanyakumari district. (Not only there, but all over the cities).

“Even though the sparrow population has survived these ravages, I can see that their breeding rate is not as high as in the past. Pesticides and insecticides also have a deadly impact on the species,” said Mr Davidson.

A regular watcher of sparrows will clearly notice that the sparrows living in the APPTA complex are slightly bigger in size than their cousins elsewhere. The constant supply of fodder in the form of worms and insects that accompany the loads of vegetables, fruits, banana leaves and green vegetables is cited as a reason for the presence of healthy sparrows.

“I am used to having sparrows in my shop even when I managed a shop in Vadasery market. When I shifted here, I put up a box and almost immediately a few birds moved in,” said B.T. Boopathy, an areca nut merchant. He regularly feeds the birds with millets.

So protective of these birds are these traders that many of them even avoid rolling down the shutters of their shop lest they disturb any nest. In this part of the State, the sparrow itself is referred to as adaikkalam kuruvi (sparrow of refuge) as it is believed that the bird seeks refuge in human habitations.

Also, an age-old belief that the sparrow is a symbol of prosperity has also encouraged the traders to grant asylum to these birds.

Yes, my mother also used to say that.  She used to throw some rice and wheat in the balcony.  We used to watch sparrows feed on them when we were small children.  I followed it later.  I used to throw some rice on the dining table before leaving for office for the sparrows to eat.  They had built a nest in the attic in some cardboard box.  We were worried most of the time, to switch on the fan lest the birds fly here and there inside the room! When I was in Bangalore, I used to throw some wheat in the balcony and made my children watch them (they were very small then!) so that I could finish some work peacefully!

I saw some sparrows at Rameshwaram and was so happy to hear their chirpings, after a long time! I took a photograph immediately...I know that I might not see them often hereafter, here, in Chennai...well, I saw a lone bird at Shastri Nagar, Adyar, a few months back, though!

What can we do to bring back the birds? They too are like us, living beings.


Edited to add, after a few hours: I read this article just now! Bird lovers might be interested to know!

I remembered about one more post of mine, about a village which pampers migratory birds.  The post is here.


Rachna said...

Ah nice article and so good to know about the nurturing nature of Nagercoil traders. In Ahmedabad I've seen that most people leave water and graind for birds on balconies and roof tops. I guess this is in recognitiob of the fact that harmony must exist in all creatures in nature.

Sandhya said...

RACHNA; I was so happy to read this article today morning. Sometimes, I feel that our beliefs are meaningful! Feeding crows, feeding sparrows bring prosperity, my mother used to say. Other birds also come and eat. Every house had flower/fruit bearing plants/trees. Now, all are gone. We can at least grow flowering plants, in pots too!

Thanks for the first comment, Rachna!

KParthasarathi said...

True the sparrow is gradually on the way to extinction.I see them in Delhi.But it is the part of evolution.Pray,tell me why should we bring them back for the only reason as you say they are also living beings.We allowed rightly perhaps dinasaurs to fade away.Tigers are also on the way out.Nothing can stop the inexorable ways of nature.Except for the harmony part that Rachna says,give me one valid reason why we should preserve all living beings?I am provoking you for a debate.:)

Sandhya said...

K.PARTHASARATHY: Wait for a long debate, Partha Sir! I have to cook and am amidst packing things for the shifting...husband is helping! Let me come back after he goes out, though he knows that I will be here once he goes out!

Thank you!

Destination Infinity said...

Not much research has been done on the reasons for sparrow extinction from cities. Lack of food might be one reason, but cell phone tower radiation, etc. might as well be another. With cell towers occupying rural areas as well, I am not sure how much of a chance sparrows have. But we will eventually pay a price for all this greed. I am sure.

Destination Infinity

BK Chowla, said...

Very intersting.We all,in our own little waysdo such things.
We have pigeons coming to our Kitchen window every morning for Corn.My wife ensures there is water in the pot for the birds,especially during summers.

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

informative and interesting post...


வை.கோபாலகிருஷ்ணன் said...


Thanks for sharing. is waiting for your valuable comments.

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: Yes, cell phone towers is the main reason for the birds' disappearance.

And the concrete jungle. No more trees for them to nest. Houses don't have space for them to use. I am planning to keep two boxes for the birds in the new flat's balcony and two here in this house's balcony. I have asked my husband to get it done with the remaining piece of woods now. We have got one teak tree, one need tree here at our back yard. Our neighbour has got a mango tree. But I don't know how long these trees be left alone! Next door people are very old and no children. A small old house. Once they move out it will become flats. They don't spare any space for even small plants. Even if they leave, only croton plants will be there...they are in our new flat. No flowering plant at all. I feel sad. But the next compound has got lots of trees. Let us see if any bird comes to nest in our boxes!

BK CHOWLA: Nice! Pigeons come here too and to the new flat too! Planning to keep a nest and water.

KRISHNA: Thank you, Krishna!

VAI.GOPALAKRISHNAN: Thank you, Gopalakrishnan Sir!

Sandhya said...

K.PARTHASARATHY: I feel that we should not be the culprits to make other living beings to disappear. We can't stop building cell towers etc. but can place some boxes and water for them to stay alive. They come near my house because of the trees we have and the flowering plants. It is so nice to see the small sun birds drinking nectar from our flowers. If we show them to our children, they will grow up showing some compassion with the other living creatures. If they don't know the beauty of these birds and animals, they will just finish their lives watching everything in laptop and TVs. We should do our best to help them live. If they disappear even after that...we can blame it on evolution like the disappearance of dinosaurs.

Have you read my post about the bul-bul birds which nested in our house. Our whole family was watching them growing up. My nieces were coming here to visit them. I have taken many pictures of them. I had been seeing only one bird for the past 6 months or so. Now, I don't see even that bird anymore. Feel very sad. They were beautiful birds.They had beautiful melodious voices too. I miss their sounds now.

Tigers are also dying because of us. They are such beautiful animals. It is very difficult to watch their dead bodies in TV because of the poachers. Humans are the worst creation of god, I feel. We never give space to others.

I think this is enough for now. I will wait for your comment now! I am happy to reply again too, Partha Sir! Thank you!

hitchwriter said...

seriously they have become so elusive... so bad... there used to be a time when you would have to switch off the fans as a sparrow came inside the house... and now they are no where to be seen

So good to see atleast one place where they prosper

rama said...

It is really nice to know that traders encourage the growth of sparrows in their own little way. These days even Mynas have become less. I think I have already mentioned in your your blog many months back, that, I have seen so many sparrows inside Bangalore International Airport, but they have stopped coming inside the cities. It was really strange to see these small birds inside the airport, pecking at the left overs in the coffee shops, there are so many there.

Renu said...

its a joy to read that their are people like those traders who value harmony in universe..

SG said...

Thanks for sharing this nice information.

APPTA? How come they forgot to name this Agricultural Manufacturers and Merchandisers Association?

Sandhya said...

HITCHWRITER: Yes, I was very happy when I read this news. The next generation will never know what a sparrow was.

RAMA: I still see some mynas at my backyard. But, sparrows, No.

I don't like them eating the left overs. They don't get to see enough greeneries where they can pick up worms and insects, I think.

RENU: Yes, some good people are still there!


Malini said...

Wonderful article Sandhya Mam! Ippo enga veettil adaikkalam, kuruvi illai, puraa dhaan. Sparrows are almost extinct in Bangalore :( I grew up watching and feeding sparrows in Chennai and I'm sad that my son isn't experiencing the same happiness. However, the pigeon babies provide me that very needed consolation!

Sandhya said...

MALINI: I don't know how long pigeons are going to survive. Rama says that she is seeing very less no. of Mynahs in Bengaluru. I see some mynahs at my backyard now. And an Asian Koel couple. A few small beautiful birds - 2 types are visiting here. Again, I don't know for how long we will see them. They come for the nectar of the vrukshippoo and some yellow flowers, which are full of dust all the time. Feel very sad for them.

I see pigeons in my neighbourhood flats too because of a Santhoshi temple nearby, I think. But they/people complain that they spoil the area with their droppings which corrode the railings and vehicles, it seems.

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