'Sparrows find ideal home in earthen pots'
Vadodara: Earthen pots are the most preferred nests for the fast diminishing house sparrows, a study undertaken by a student of M S University has revealed.
In a bid to arrest their dwindling population in the city, Aliasgar Vohra, a masters student of zoology had carried out a study to identify the preferred nesting habitat of the house sparrows.
The study was carried out in the breeding season for sparrows between January and May. Vohra had developed nest boxes of four materials which includes wood box, plastic jars, earthen pots and cardboard boxes that were placed in three localities namely Panigate, Ajabadi Mill and Mughal Wada.
"In all, 40 nests, 10 of each material were placed in 40 pockets of these three localities. I observed that in the beginning of their breeding till March, a majority laid their nests in the plastic jars. With the rise in temperature, it was observed that these house sparrows started dwelling in the earthen pots," he said.
Explaining this habitat fluctuation, Dr Ranjitsinh Devkar, a faculty at the zoology department said, "Temperature in plastic nests fluctuates while it remains stagnant in earthen pots. Humidity in these pots is low in comparison to other nest kinds which is suitable for incubation of eggs."
Vohra added that location of the nest's opening is also important as direct sunlight will attract predators. "House sparrows do not prefer building their nests in areas that are in a radius of around 200 m to 400 m where insecticides or pesticides are sprayed," he said.
"I live in the Old City and was happy to see that the number of sparrows was high here in comparison to the fast-developing areas of the city. This motivated me to carry out a study," said Vohra, who has been volunteering for sparrow conservation since his school days.