Monday, October 8, 2012

House Sparrows- Miss these little buddies..

They are vanishing from many big cities, but are still not uncommon in small towns and villages. India has seen a massive decline of sparrows in recent years. On the world map too. Once a commonplace bird in large parts of Europe, its numbers are decreasing. In the Netherlands, the House Sparrow is even considered an endangered species. Their recent decline has earned them a place on the Red List in the Netherlands. Similar precipitous drops in population have been recorded in the United Kingdom. French ornithologists have charted a steep decline in Paris and other cities. There has been an even sharper fall in the urban areas in Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Italy and Finland. History It is thought that the House sparrow originated in the Mediterranean and expanded into Europe with the growth of civilization. At the insistence of man did the sparrow make its way across the Atlantic to the United States. In 1850, green inch worms were destroying trees in New York City’s Central Park. As the house sparrow’s main diet in England consisted of the same green worms, it was thought that if sparrows were brought to New York City they would solve the worm problem in Central Park. Others thought the sparrow would eliminate crop pests. The first introduction of the sparrow was conducted by the Brooklyn Institute in 1851. Eight pairs were originally released but none were able to survive the change in climate. More attempts were made and eventually the birds adapted to a colder climate and multiplied. The sparrow rapidly spread across the United States. The abundance of spilled grain used for feeding horses and the artificial nesting cavities provided by humans helped the sparrow along. They successfu Food The house sparrow is an intelligent bird that has proven to be adaptable to most situation, i.e. nest sites, food and shelter, so it has become the most abundant songbird in the world. Sparrows are very social birds and tend to flock together through most of the year. A flock’s range covers 1.5-2 miles, but it will cover a larger territory if necessary when searching for food. The sparrow’s main diet consists of grain seeds, especially waste grain and live stock feed. If grain is not available, its diet y broad and adaptable. It also eats weeds and insects, especially during the breeding season. The parasitic nature of the house sparrow is quite evident as they are avid seekers of garbage tossed out by humans. In spring, flowers (especially those with yellow colours) are often eaten crocuses, primroses and aconites seem to attract the house sparrow most. The birds also hunt butterflies. Housing House sparrows are generally attracted to buildings for roosting, nesting, and cover. They look for any man-made nook or cranny to build their nests. Other nesting sites are clothes line poles with the end caps open, lofts, kitchen garden etc. The sparrow makes its home in areas closely associated with human habitation. Taxonomy The House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a member of the old world sparrow family Passeridae. Some consider it to be a relative of the Weaver Finch Family. A number of geographic races have been named, and are differentiated on the basis of size and cheek colour. Cheeks are grey in the west and white in the east. The shade of the colouration, particularly of the chestnut area in the males is also considered. Birds of the western hemisphere are larger than those in the tropical South Asian populations. In India, it is popularly known as Goraiya in the Hindi belt. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala it is known as Kuruvi. Telugu language has given it a name, Pichhuka, Kannadigas call it Gubbachchi, Gujaratis call it Chakli where as Maharashtrians call it Chimani. It is known as Chiri in Punjab, Chaer in Jammu and Kashmir, Charai Pakhi in West Bengal, and Gharachatia in Orissa. In Urdu language it is called Chirya while Sindhi language has termed it as Jhirki. Features This 14 to 16 cm long bird has a wing span of 19-25 cms. It is a small, stocky song bird that weighs 26 to 32 grams. The male sparrow has a grey crown, cheeks and underparts, and is black at the throat, upper breast and between the bill and eyes. The bill in summer is blue–black and the legs are brown. In winter the plumage is dulled by pale edgings, and the bill is yellowish brown. The female has no black coloring on the head or throat, or a grey crown her upper part is streaked with brown. The juveniles are deeper brown, and the white is replaced by buff the beak is dull yellow. The House Sparrow is often confused with the smaller and more slender Tree Sparrow, which, however, has a chestnut and not grey crown, two distinct wing bars and a black patch on each cheek The sparrow’s most common call is a short and incessant, slightly metallic cheep, chirrup. It also has a double call note- phillip wherein originated the now obsolete name of “phillip sparrow”. While the young are in their nests, the older birds utter a long churr. At least three broods are reared in the season. Reproduction The nesting sites are varied – in holes in buildings or rocks, in ivy or creepers, on houses or riverbanks, on sea-cliffs or in bushes in bays and inlets. When built in holes or ivy, the nest is an untidy litter of straw and rubbish, abundantly filled with feathers. Large well- constructed domed nests are often built when the bird nests in trees or shrubs, especially in rural areas. The House Sparrow is quite aggressive in usurping the nesting sites of other birds, often forcibly evicting the previous occupants, and sometimes even building a new nest directly on top of another active nests with live nestlings. Eggs are variable in size and shape as well as markings. Eggs are incubated by the female. The sparrow has the shortest incubation period of all the birds, 10 -12 days, and a female can lay 25 eggs each summer. The reproductive success increases with age and this is mainly by changes in timing, with older birds breeding earlier in the season. Causes of Decline There are various causes for dramatic decrease in their population, one of the more surprising being the introduction of unleaded petrol, the combustion of which produces compounds such as methyl nitrite, a compound which is highly toxic for small insects, which forms a major part of a young sparrow’s diet. Other being areas of free growing weeds, or reduction in number of badly maintained buildings, which are important nesting opportunities for sparrows. Ornithologists and wildlife experts speculate that the population crash could also be linked to a variety of factors like the lack of nesting sites in modern concrete buildings, disappearing kitchen gardens, increased use of pesticides in farmlands and the non- availability of food sources. K.S. Gopi Sunder of the Indian Cranes and Wetlands Working Group says: “Although there is no concrete evidence or study to substantiate the phenomenon, the population of house sparrows has definitely declined over the past few years”. He attributes this to a number of reasons. The widespread use of chemical pesticides in farmlands has resulted in the killings of insects on which these birds depend. “Seed-eating birds like sparrows have to depend on soft- bodied insects to feed their young ones,” he said. The other possibility could be increased predation by crows and cats, while crows have grown in number as a result of garbage accumulation in the city. According to Dr. V. S Vijayan of the Coimbatore-based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, though the avian species can still be spotted over two-thirds of the world’s land surface, “ironically, there has been a rapid decline in the population of these once abundant birds”. Changing lifestyles and architectural evolution have wreaked havoc on the bird’s habitat and food sources. Modern buildings are devoid of eaves and crannies, and coupled with disappearing home gardens, are playing a part in the disappearing act. Today one misses the sight of sparrows hopping from branch to branch in the bushes outside one’s house and their chirping. One is taken back to well known Hindi Writer Mahadevi Verma’s Story ‘Goraiya’ – eating grains from her hands, jumping on her shoulders and playing hide and seek. Today one wishes that the Goriya does not remain confined in the pages of Mahadevi Verma’s story but comes back to our cities as ever before.

Green Munia- vulnerable species endemic to india

The Green Avadavat or Green Munia (Amandava formosa) is a species of Estrildid finch with green and yellow on the body, a bright red bill and black "zebra stripes" on the flanks. They are endemic to the Indian subcontinent and were formerly popular as cagebirds with the name "avadavat" being a corruption of the name the city of "Ahmedabad" in Gujarat which was a centre of bird trade. They have a restricted distribution and populations are threatened by bird trade. It's said that its found near northern Andra Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Budgie breeding time......

I always had atleast a pair of budgies with me. I used to consider breeding them something of a professional's job. But just found out it is too easy.... thinking about expanding my aviary now.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What should be your child's first pet??

For a beginner Tropical Aquarium Owner Guppies/any live bearers are the best..... If you are running to the aquarium shop every week to buy a new pair of fish for your child, then consider getting any of the below mentoined ones...They are very vibrant and hardy...

Bottom Swordtail Guppy
Double Swordtail Guppy
Golden Yellow Tuxedo Guppy
Grass Tail Guppy
Mosaic Guppy
Neon Tuxedo Guppy
Red Mosaic Guppy
Red Mosaic Female Guppy
Blue Mosaic Guppy
Blue Mosaic Female Guppy
Red Grass Guppy
King Cobra & Red Mosaic Cross
Red Tuxedo Guppy
Yellow Golden King Cobra Guppy
King Cobra Guppy
Flamingo (Golden Red Tail) Guppy
Lyre Tail King Cobra Guppy
Russian King Cobra Guppy
Russian Blue King Cobra Guppy
American Red King Cobra Guppy
Russian Red King Cobra Guppy
Grass Delta Tail Guppy
Russian Mixed Guppy
Peacock Guppy
Long Fin Austrian (Geissen) Guppy
Pastel Mosaic Guppy
Singapore Snakeskin Guppy

Red Mosaic & King Cobra Cross
King Cobra Female Guppy
King Cobra Guppy

Red Tail King Cobra Guppy
Long Fin King Cobra Guppy
Lace King Cobra Guppy
Lace Sword Tail King Cobra Guppy
Long Fin Lace King Cobra Guppy
Lyre Tail King Cobra Guppy
Russian Red King Cobra Guppy
Grass Guppy
Glass Grass Guppy

Puppy Frownie

Every time I see these photographs my heart just goes gooey-gooey...These innocent puppy eyes captured our hearts three years back on a Auguat day...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Damn Swim Bladders !!!!!

I almost lost one Black moor and an Oranda Goldfish.As you all know Goldfishes are one greedy breed.They just dont know when to stop. I am very careful with the filter cleansing and water change, but still the water was slighty cloudy on that day it happend. After I came home from work I saw two of them floating on top with their belly up. Even after reading so much on the swim bladder, it just didn't strike me that the whole problem could be 'Air in the Swim Bladder'...

I was trying to go one by one in my head the probable reasons for this predictament. As a last minute resort I just caught the fish in my hand flipped it over and squeezed it belly and rubbed near its anal fin. I didnt find any miraculous changes immediatly. I almost gave up then..

I was little sad that I was loosing two of my favs. That Black moor was the one I used previously for the fine tuning of my hand spawning technique.After an hour or so I went to get the dead fish out and Voila !!!! There are NO DEAD FISH..

Now that was a big shock for me...I was on Cloudnine @@##$$$%%%^^^&&**(())()

Now that I think about it, I wish I had tried this on every damn fish I lost in the past!!!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Incredible India !!!

The photograph given below was taken during a rescue mission. The veterian carrying the Leopard shot the animal with tranquilizers to save it from the well.Later the animal was shifted into leopard santuary.

This is a common sight in India. Many Indians consider them sacred and so people live behind bars to keep these little huligans away.....!

Courtesy to: Y!india

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Diary Note 2/12/12...

Has anyone felt a phase in life when your are in complete dilemma as to what you want to be in life????

Well I am going exactly throught it now...

I am so confused that I have no clue as to what I need in my life at this stage in life....

Is it to persue my life amibition of being surrounded by things I love the most and stay home or make some sort of a career carved out of things I like to do for the society ???

The problem lies in the fact that I am so influenced by the people around me. I really do envy my husband for his talent for being so unaffected by the 'society's expectation' out of him.I wish I could be so sure of myself some day....

Other day in my routine conversation with my mom this had come up. I was telling her how much I wish to be her.So sure of herself with the 'Superiority complex' that can rival the Miss Universe's and the attitude which can either be friendly or killing according to the situation.Whereas on the other side I am such a mouse to confront a situation who takes all bullshit thrown at face with a smile and never ever got around in life to pay back a revenge. I was surprised to see that my mom saw me in different light. She thinks I am more mature in handling situations (I dont think so ..) and very smart.On the other hand, my dad apparently thinks I am good actress who tries to enact the protrait of charming and genuine female (Sometimes dads see too much. Well I am scared to ask my husband more about it actually.I am sure he will have wonderfull things to add to that....LoL

By penning down all this in my blog I am not actually expecting all my worries answered but I thought it will be great to see it wriiten down to bring some memories in life in the future....

Monday, January 23, 2012

The rare lesser blue wing dragonfly sighted at the Thenmala Butterfly Safari Park in Kollam district.

The lesser blue wing dragonfly (Rhyothemis triangular) considered a rare dragonfly in South India has been spotted and photographed at the Thenmala Butterfly Safari Park in Kollam district.

This feast for the eyes sighting was made on January 14 by the butterfly and bird enthusiasts, C. Sushanth and M.S. Akhil during the monthly butterfly and dragonfly monitoring exercise.

The slow-flying lesser blue wing is a medium-sized elusive dragonfly with metallic blue markings on the base of its wings. Ponds and marshes are the favourite spots of these dragonflies since they love perching near water bodies. This could be because it breeds in marshes and similar habitats.

But in the southern part of the country they are rarely sighted. The previous recorded sighting of this dragonfly was some last year by wildlife photographer and dragonfly enthusiast T. Dragon fly close to a wetland in Vithura of Thiruvananthapuram district.

Mr. Sushanth said that one of the fascinating aspects of the lesser blue wing is that it can float in the air for long periods without flapping the wings. Both Sushanth and Akhil recorded sighting rare dragonflies and damselflies within and around the Thenmala butterfly park

Amazing.... But I think Facebook still rocks.....

NEW YORK: Google's online social networking service 'Google Plus' has crossed 90 million users mark since its launch in June.

Google Plus now has attracted 90 million users, reflecting the huge interest in the social networking site which was opened to the public on September 20. That more than doubles the 40 million that Google reported in October.

Earlier, Google Plus service was available only through invitation as part of trial runs.

Interestingly, rival Facebook took about four years to reach 90 million users. Facebook, founded in 2004, has now 800 million users globally.

"I am super excited about the growth of ... Google Plus, which now has 90 million users globally - wellover double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google Plus we will create amazing experiences across our services," Google CEO Larry Page said while announcing the company's latest quarterly earnings.

Google unveiled 'Google Plus' in late June as part of efforts to garner a share of the lucrative social networking space that has so far been dominated by Mark Zuckerberg--led Facebook.

Since launch, Google has added toolbars and other buttons on its websites to aggressively promote the service.

During the quarter, Google has reported a net income to $ 2.71 billion in for October-December, which analysts termed as below market expectation.

It registered revenue of $ 10.58 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, an increase of 25 per cent from the year-ago period.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rising CO2 emissions 'damaging' fish brains

LONDON: Rising levels of human carbon dioxide emissions may be affecting the brains and central nervous system of sea fishes, thereby threatening their survival in the long run, a new study has suggested.

According to Professor Philip Munday of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, carbon dioxide concentrations predicted to occur in the ocean by the end of this century will interfere with fishes' ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators.

"For several years our team have been testing the performance of baby coral fishes in sea water containing higher levels of dissolved CO2 - and it is now pretty clear that they sustain significant disruption to their central nervous system, which is likely to impair their chances of survival," Prof. Munday said.

In their latest paper Prof. Munday and colleagues reported world-first evidence that high CO2 levels in sea water disrupts a key brain receptor in fish, causing marked changes in their behaviour and sensory ability.

"We've found that elevated CO2 in the oceans can directly interfere with fish neurotransmitter functions, which poses a direct and previously unknown threat to sea life," Prof. Munday insisted.

Prof. Munday and his colleagues began by studying how baby clown and damsel fishes performed alongside their predators in CO2-enriched water. They found that, while the predators were somewhat affected, the baby fish suffered much higher rates of attrition.

"Our early work showed that the sense of smell of baby fish was harmed by higher CO2 in the water - meaning they found it harder to locate a reef to settle on or detect the warning smell of a predator fish. But we suspected there was much more to it than the loss of ability to smell."

The team then examined whether fishes' sense of hearing - used to locate and home in on reefs at night, and avoid them during the day - was affected.

"The answer is, yes it was. They were confused and no longer avoided reef sounds during the day. Being attracted to reefs during daylight would make them easy meat for predators."

Other work showed the fish also tended to lose their natural instinct to turn left or right - an important factor in schooling behaviour which also makes them more vulnerable, as lone fish are easily eaten by predators.

"All this led us to suspect it wasn't simply damage to their individual senses that was going on - but rather, that higher levels of carbon dioxide were affecting their whole central nervous system."

The team's latest research shows that high CO2 directly stimulates a receptor in the fish brain called GABA-A, leading to a reversal in its normal function and over-excitement of certain nerve signals.

While most animals with brains have GABA-A receptors, the team considers the effects of elevated CO2 are likely to be most felt by those living in water, as they have lower blood CO2 levels normally.

The main impact is likely to be felt by some crustaceans and by most fishes, especially those which use a lot of oxygen.

Prof. Munday said that around 2.3 billion tonnes of human CO2 emissions dissolve into the world's oceans every year, causing changes in the chemical environment of the water in which fish and other species live.

"We've now established it isn't simply the acidification of the oceans that is causing disruption - as is the case with shellfish and plankton with chalky skeletons - but the actual dissolved CO2 itself is damaging the fishes' nervous systems," Prof. Munday added.

The study has been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Select Aquatics

A very nice site I came across .....Its in Colarado, for an Indian its useless but felt its worth paying a online visit. Click on this page to get more information.

Nesaea pedicellata

Nesaea pedicellata is a stem plant from Africa that has thick stems and large leaves that are soft green with shades of red and yellow. Until 2009 this plant was rare in the USA and only imported occasionally, but since then has been grown commercially by Florida Aquatic Nurseries and sold by their retailers. It requires moderate to bright light and added C02 is recommended. Some web sites describe this as a difficult plant to grow, but mine started growing and turning red at the tops within the first week, and has even started growing side shoots and roots.

It tolerates hard or soft water, and responds well to a nutrient rich substrate. Becuase of its large size it should be placed toward the rear of the aquarium.




Country of origin
West Africa

20-40+ cm

10-20+ cm

Light requirements
medium-very high


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