Home Page
 
news 06 Mar 12

Sparrows Vanish From Streets of Belgrade

The symbol of the Serbian capital is becoming a scarce sight as populations of sparrows plummet for unknown reasons.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

House sparrows that used to awaken Belgraders every morning with their characteristic squabbling are becoming less and less seen today. Magpies and crows have jumped in instead, flocking to feed from Belgraders' hands.

"In competition with other birds, sparrows are slowly losing the battle, because they are weaker and slower to reach food," Vojislav Vasic, ornithologist and former director of the Natural History Museum of Serbia, said.

The Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia has not conducted exact research into the causes of the disappearance of sparrows in Belgrade owing to financial difficulties, they said.

But ornithologists estimate that the population has dropped from around 5,000 to only a few thousand.

Vasic said the main problem for the sparrow is that is very dependent on man. "Man is mainly responsible for survival of this species," he said. "Maybe the solution is in placing feeders on terraces or in parks," Vasic suggested.

Vasic said he had a few feeders on his own balcony and enjoyed their chirping every morning.

He believes research into the causes of the decline of sparrows should be carried out and that the city of Belgrade should launch a joint protection action with Gradsko Zelenilo, the city firm in charge of parks and trees in Belgrade.

A legend linked to this small bird says that during the Ottoman siege of Belgrade in the 15th century a sparrow was found shot in the heart with two arrows. Since then, it has been said that Belgrade is as indestructible as the sparrow.

The bird was chosen as the symbol of Belgrade because it is small but capable of soaring to great heights, and thus stands for the Belgrade spirit.

Belgrade is not the only city facing a decline in sparrow populations. Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Finland are facing the same problem.

Research in Prague has shown the number of sparrows has declined there by 60 per cent in the last 20 years.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

mladic-appeals-icty-denial-of-temporary-release-05-23-2017
23 May 17

Mladic Appeals ICTY Denial of Temporary Release

Former Bosnian Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic’s defence has appealed The Hague Tribunal decision not to grant him temporary release for medical treatment in Russia.

23 May 17

Zaev Races to Close Deal on Macedonian Cabinet

Premium Selection

move-to-publish-intelligence-files-divides-romania-05-22-2017
22 May 17

Move to Publish Intelligence Files Divides Romania

Plans to declassify secret files that belonged to the Justice Ministry have caused a dispute - with some claiming they should be destroyed as they contain forgeries and inaccuracies.

albania-analysts-ponder-recent-pm-opposition-big-deal--05-22-2017
22 May 17

Albania Analysts Ponder Recent PM, Opposition ‘Big Deal’

Analysts in Albania seem split in their views over a landmark deal between Prime Minister Edi Rama and opposition leader Lulzim Basha, which – if implemented – could end years of political deadlock.