Sparrows in a box in a balcony

by Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar
 
GM Palya near the old airport in Bangalore to Kadugodi in Whitefield is only 15 km tops by the longest route, yet it seems like eons away. The landscape is entirely different, with high rise towers scattered everywhere and considerable amounts of plantations tucked in.
As we were checking out the apartments, the first thing we got love locked onto was a quarrel of sparrows. Soon we found sunbirds and drongos, the cranes and many other unknown species. With the small pockets of lakes and streams still untouched and vast areas of undeveloped land as they are called, the birds are thriving, as of now.
After settling the household and the pots on the small balcony in May 2017, we put a bowl each for food and water to get acquainted with the birds. Many came and our mornings turned into a cacophony of bird calls, loud yet soothing.
One fine day the idea of turning a shoe box into a nest popped up and we set to work. First, we covered it with cellotape completely, more on top and bottom. Then cut a small door enough for a small bird to enter and exit. We also cut a couple of tiny windows for air and light. We then painted it with oil colours and let it dry for days.
Once ready we hung it up on our balcony grill and secured it as much as we could. Thence started a long wait. For weeks none would go in. They would dance and hop atop the box but that was all. Then some of the males ventured in but failed to elicit interest in any females. Months went by.
In November to our delight a pair started frequenting the box and one day as I looked inside, it was filled with cotton and twigs!
Yet time passed and the pair just kept coming and going. I and Rajib agreed that they had accepted the box as their farm house which they visited only for pleasure.
In Feb this year I saw the lady spending more time inside the box and suspected something. I ushered my hand in and yes! There were three eggs!
By the beginning of March the racket of hungry kids started rising and I found three fledglings! Now they are almost grown up and will probably fly off in a week or two. We have been instrumental in the addition of three more sparrows to the otherwise dwindling population, and hope to add more.
Feels awesome!

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