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Made for Each Other

Made for Each Other
Photo Information
Copyright: Ram Thakur (ramthakur) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4316 W: 231 N: 14052] (56953)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-02-08
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D200, Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO DG MACRO, 58mm UV
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-02-08 4:42
Viewed: 2311
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Today, I feel on top of the world!
A kind of despair gripped me from the time it became more than obvious that the House Sparrows have started vanishing from human habitations. The other day, I shot a lone male House Sparrow on the roof of my school building, cheeping away forlornly, as if calling for its companion. I felt its loneliness and my heart went out to him.
Today, it is the same location, but with a difference. He has a companion! I shot them this morning sitting side-by-side on the parapet and chirruping together happily. They even pecked each other like a loving couple. My day was made!
But mind you, they were just these two.
Here is one picture from the series. Hope you like it as much as I do.

This article from The Independent is worth a read:

It's taken eight-and-a-half years but
The Independent's 5,000 prize for explaining the disappearance of the house sparrow from our towns and cities finally has a serious entry, with a serious theory.

Insect decline, featured prominently in this newspaper last Saturday, is offered as the reason for the biggest bird mystery of modern times by a group of four scientists from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), De Montfort University in Leicester and Natural England, the Government's wildlife agency.

Their theory, put forward in a scientific paper to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Animal Conservation, is based on intensive research in Leicester, showing that sparrow chicks were starving in their nests because their parents could not find enough insects to feed them. So many chicks were dying that the birds' population level as a whole was declining.

The paper has been entered for The Independent's prize, which was reported around the world when it was announced on 16 May 2000, as the start of a campaign to Save The Sparrow.

One of the authors, Dr Kate Vincent, who carried out the research on which the theory is based, said: "If we were successful, given the statuses of the collaborating organisations, we feel that any prize money received should be spent on further research or conservation work on house sparrows. From The Independent's point of view it would be a natural progression to know that your Save The Sparrow campaign prize money would be engineering further sparrow research, which we feel would be something to celebrate."

The 5,000 prize was offered for a peer-reviewed paper published in a scientific journal, which in the opinion of our referees would account for the disappearance of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, from towns and cities in Britain. The referees are the RSPB, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and Dr Denis Summers-Smith, an internationally renowned expert on sparrows. (It was stated at the time that researchers from the RSPB and BTO would not be precluded from entering.) The referees will now be considering the paper to see if it does indeed account for a remarkable wildlife enigma.

House sparrows in Britain have declined by 68 per cent since 1977, but the decline has been overwhelmingly an urban one. Although still relatively plentiful in small towns in the countryside and by the sea, in many major conurbations, sparrows have disappeared. Numbers started falling in cities in the mid-1980s and the species has virtually vanished from central London for example, St James's Park holds all the common garden birds such as blue tits, robins and blackbirds, but sparrows, which were once plentiful, died out in the park in the late 1990s. There was no obvious cause. House sparrows are also disappearing from Bristol, Edinburgh and Dublin, as well as Hamburg, Prague and Moscow but curiously, they are faring better in Paris and Berlin.

When The Independent launched its campaign, many potential reasons for the decline were suggested by readers, which included increased predation by cats, magpies and sparrowhawks (all of which have increased in our cities); disease contracted from bird food such as peanuts; increased use of pesticides; collective suicide; radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former USSR; the disappearance of sparrow nesting places as houses were modernised and gardens were tidied up or concreted over as car ports, and a decline in insects. (Although adult sparrows are seed-eating birds, the young need insect food in the first few days of their lives).

The last two potential causes lack of nesting places and insect shortage have always seemed the most likely (although many people blame magpies and other predators for declines in small birds, both the RSPB and the BTO say this is not borne out by the figures).

A leading proponent of the insect shortage theory was Dr Summers-Smith, a retired engineer from Guisborough in Cleveland, and the author of the standard monograph on the house sparrow, and several other sparrow books. He felt that chick starvation might well be the cause of the fall in numbers as a whole, although he was unable to prove it.

This appears to have been borne out in the new paper. The lead author, Dr Will Peach from the RSPB, said: "Each pair of house sparrows must rear at least five chicks every year to stop their numbers falling.

"But in our study, too many chicks were starving in their nests. Others were fledging [leaving the nest] but were too weak to live for much longer than that. If the birds nested in areas rich in insects, they did much better.

"Where there were few insects, young house sparrows were likely to die. Young house sparrows need insects rather than seeds, peanuts or bread to survive."

Dr Vincent, then of De Montfort University in Leicester, said: "This is one of the most mysterious and complex declines of a species in recent years. The study highlights that sparrow chicks are hatching but they aren't surviving.

"This is partly down to the loss of green spaces within British cities through development on green space, tree removal and the conversion of front gardens for parking. The loss of deciduous greenery within urban areas may have made life much more difficult for birds like house sparrows that need large numbers of insects to feed their young."

Phil Grice, senior ornithologist at Natural England, said: "This study highlights the importance of using native varieties of plants in our urban green spaces which, in turn, support large numbers of insects that are important in the diet of house sparrows and a range of other birds that we love to see in our gardens".

The paper, Reproductive success of house sparrows along an urban gradient, by W J Peach, K E Vincent, J A Fowler and P V Grice, is now being sent to our referees and we shall report soon on their verdict.


McQueenca, chrimakris, anel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Namaste Sir, Neighbours again. Splendid view of these house sparows. Nice BG, mesmerising infact. TFS...... Nitin

hallo Ram
nice picture of this couple with good details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

Respected Ram Thakur,
Nice picture of this species.In west Bengal we call this species "Chorai".But now a days it's rare here.
You have taken it with nice POV and colour.

Thanks for sharing,
Kind regards and respect,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-02-08 11:29]

Hello Ram, I'm glad you found your friends sparrows after a long time, a good picture even if the details are not on top, but what matters is the content, which it seems you really excited!

Hi Ram
Great scene nicely composed. Super POV and eye contact from both birds. Photo provides a good comparison between sexes. Very nice colour and BG.
Thanks for sharing
Best regards

Interesting note Ram! Nice photo with good composition and wonderful lighting.

照的很柔和 眼中還有閃光

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-02-11 0:43]

Hello Ram,
Very interesting and touching posting. Your day was made, just seeing two sparrows, what a happy man you are. I think not much people would be like you. And to prouve what you write you add this fine smooth picture. I have read the article of the Independant too and I can tell you that the same reason was evoked for our sparrows here. Meanwhile they are very numerous around our house, enough insects around:-)!
Was very happy to read your note. Thanks a lot.

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