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Odette Katrak - Suncity Heights (near Suncity World School) Suncity, Sector 54 Gurgaon Haryana

My own children are still in school, but I consider myself a grandmother – having just seen two batches of baby sparrows hatch in the nest built in the pipe of my kitchen chimney! (had previous batches last year too). The baby sparrows are so tame. I feed them bread crumbs in my balcony every morning and they seem to wait for me. The minute the bread crumbs are laid out, they chirp noisily and don’t waste a moment getting to work! On a day that I may have forgotten, they perch on the balcony rails and call out noisily.

What makes me enjoy their presence even more as that when I walk into the balcony, they do not fly away any more, but hover around a few inches from me.

On some days, the babies literally go ‘cheep cheep cheep’ all day long, without a break!

It is sometimes annoying not to be able to use my chimney – but the chirping of the sparrows through the day makes it worth it.

The nest was incidentally built with coir that the cheeky parents pulled out of my imported coir plant holders, but I have long since forgiven them – and have been glad to help in increasing the declining sparrow population.

Sparrows were my favourite birds growing up in Chennai in the 1960s and 70s. By the time my children arrived in the late 90s, early 2000s in Bangalore, there was not a sparrow in sight. I would describe them to my children and lament that they had never seen the cute little sparrows. Then around 2008 when we visited the new Bangalore airport on the outskirts, we saw a few sparrows.
Lived in the UK (Glasgow) from 2007 to 2009, where we saw plenty of sparrows among other lovely birds.
When we moved to Gurgaon in 2009, it was such a pleasant surprise to see so many sparrows. I can proudly saw that we have more sparrows than crows! In our apartment which has about a 180 flats, we must be having at least 30-50 sparrow nests! (and Gurgaon boasts of many other unusual birds as well)