Of late, i've noticed sparrows in the area where i live. And i felt glad about it.
They had disappeared from the scene for quite a few years. It's not a good sign when one knows that your regular neighbours are given a run for their money. Especially, when speaking about the friendly sparrows/house sparrows(Passer domesticus). I was disappointed at not seeing them.
When i did see them last week, i was pleased. To quite an extent. Perhaps, it was a dream, thought i. One morning i woke up to bird calls. Dominated by the chirping of the sparrows. I felt blessed, truly.
B and i were taking a stroll in the neighbourhood, yesterday. Two sparrows were perched on an electric line. Typical of them. Clinging on a electric poles with the claws curved around them in perfect array. Brown-grey on the underside. Various shades of brown colouring the feathers on the dorsal surface. They are said to feed on insects and larvae.
Gone were the days when kids were shown the sparrows from a close distance. Shrill excited voices could be heard from an excited child. Sparrows in kannada are known as gubbachchi. Formerly, children were threatened that they would be carried away by the gubbachchi, if the former threw tantrums while doing anything... when being fed food, lulled to sleep, or when playing.
Tales used to be spun around these small birds. Imagination taking wings, with a gubbachchi king, queen and the little one who was naughty. The grand end appears where lessons are learnt by the young one, who transforms into a good being. Attached with morals, and happiness returning to the royal family, it served as an excellant bed-time story.
At home, shreads of chapathi, or morsels of rice were placed at a corner of a parapet, for the gubbachchi to come and feed. With sharp eyes, it's not difficult to spot the quick, up and down movements of the beaks, when they swallowed down some grains of boiled rice.
Though, it is long since the practise has been discontinued, observing a sparrow and it's nuances will always be an enjoyable pastime.