Stuff I Do

Experiences and Encounters in Pune

Sparrows by Anusha

Posted by Sanskriti on August 17, 2009

For a change, a short article by Anusha …

Till I was about 10 years old, I used to live in Aundhgaon, quite close to the Mula river. I used to watch the birds all the time. How birds, especially sparrows go about their business is so interesting.

The Avian Ritz

One day I had this bright idea of putting a bird feeder

in the balcony with some bajra and water. For the first few days no birds came visiting. But just as I decided that I would take the feeder off, one sparrow came to the feeder and started pecking away at the bajra seeds. Then another one came…and another, and another, and another. I was so happy. Now I had to change the water and refill the bajra bowl everyday, sometimes twice a day. It was like running a restaurant!

Other birds came too, not just sparrows. Mynas, blue rock pigeons and sunbirds. The sunbirds used to come have a drink of water, and maybe a sip or two from the flowers Amma had planted in the balcony.

Watching the birds was also a great source of entertainment. They did loads of silly things. There was a small pipe jutting out of the wall of the neighboring house. One day I saw a sparrow hovering around it, probably looking for a place to build a nest. And then, the sparrow’s head got stuck in the pipe! It must’ve gotten completely gassed out by the smell in the pipe. Another sparrow was fluttering around nearby and it saw the other sparrow stuck in pipe. It started jumping on the pipe trying to get the other sparrow un-stuck. After a few minutes of jumping and pulling, the stuck-up sparrow was free.

One day my parents told me that we were shifting to a new house also in Aundh, but further from the Mula. It also meant that I had to leave my birdy-friends! I didn’t want to, but I had to. It must have been really hard for the birds to come to the bird feeder and then find no bajra and no water. I was feeling really sad and guilty for that. One of the first things I did in the new house was to look for the birds there. There weren’t many sparrows, but there were many sunbirds, ashy wren warblers, grey hornbills, fantailed flycatchers, magpie robins, red vented bulbuls and grey tits.

The birds in the new house are those found in gardens. There were more sparrows in the old house probably because there was a provision store nearby which had huge sacks of grain. Grain was usually scattered all over the place near the store, so obviously there were many sparrows hanging around. Here in the new house there are many more green trees and bushes so there are these garden-type birds. A nice and interesting contrast of birds.

Unfortunately there isn’t much place for a bird feeder, though I can still observe them. Often bulbuls nest on top of a tube light in the parking lot. I wonder how they go to sleep with the tube light on shining brightly…but they usually still manage to raise a brood properly.

The birds here are different and interesting, but I still miss the sparrows of the old house.


10 Responses to “Sparrows by Anusha”

  1. Vivek Khadpekar said

    Dear Anusha,

    I loved your article and the beautiful sketch. What you wrote raises some questions in my mind. I wonder if similar questions occurred to you. It would be nice to know.

    1. How did the first sparrow spread the news of your feeder to the other sparrows? How do birds and animals communicate such information among themselves?

    2. You were “running a restaurant” with just one item on the menu (and water, of course). So it was a bit like a Jhunaka-Bhakar stall of the very early days. Only a limited kind of customers would come. Suppose you had expanded the menu, would more kinds of bird have come? (Do you know the story behind the Jhunaka-Bhakar stalls? Maybe you will find it on the internet. Also search “Dr. P. V. Sukhatme”).

    3. Some environmentalists say that the population of birds that live in or close to towns and cities (e.g. sparrows, crows, pigeons) is declining. What do you think, from your experience of shifting from a house close to the Mula to one further away?

    4. What kinds of location do birds in cities prefer for nesting?

    5. Your comment about the bulbuls nesting and raising a brood on top of a tubelight is very interesting. Do you think where they nest really makes a difference?

    Just a few questions that got me curious after reading your piece. It’s ok if you cannot immediately help me with the answers answers. Keep exploring, observing, asking questions and writing. I look forward to reading more about StuffYouDo 🙂



  2. Janaki said

    hi anusha,

    lovely piece and very timely for us. nandini and me are planning to make a bird feeder tom with a surf excel dhabha collected specially for that purpose. She read your article too and is now more excited !

    Would u like to write for tntkids.blogspot ? It was born last week after swine flu closure induced complete boredom ! Let me know ? will add you as author.

  3. Azhar said

    Hi, Anusha,
    You are a fabulous writer! All your friends must be “tweeting” away on Twitter, but it’s so good to know that you don’t just do that — you actually WARBLE your opinions, and it leaves me wondering whether you were a sparrow in your earlier life… 🙂

    Thank you so much for this, and please keep writing for StuffYouDo. Will you want to keep writing about birds, if you do? What other animals could you find in Pune and its surroundings?

    Your StuffYouDo friend,


  4. Sunil said

    Hey Anusha

    That is a beautiful write-up and a very good sketch. Keep up the observations and I am sure you will find a lot of answers to what Vivek has asked. Enjoy your bird watching and observations.


  5. Dharmaraj said

    Well done Anusha!

    Superb article and the sketch as well. Also appreciable is the keen observation you did of the birdlife. Try to check whether some migratory birds also visit ur gallery as this is a season of winter migrants.

    Best wishes…….

  6. Ramjee said

    Lovely note… and a more lovely pic! Did you get the answers for Vivek’s queries…? :~) Give me suggestions on how to set up the bird feeder for sparrows. I have a couple of sparrows raising their family… :~)

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  9. Nita said

    Hullo Anuksha,
    You love sparrows. And perhaps you could share this experience here:

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