House Sparrow ( Chorui, চড়ুই in Bengali ) used to be the most common bird living in domestic areas in our locality, seen throughout Bengal. They would make their nests in the thatched houses, within the straws of the thatches.
In those days, thatched houses were very common. Nowadays thatched houses have been replaced by tin and corrugated shades driving the house sparrows out of their natural shelter.
Thatched houses were in vogue then. The indigenous paddy varieties would have longer straw suitable for thatching. The dwarf High Yielding Varieties of paddy having short length straw are not a good fit for this purpose. The High Yielding paddy straws are not also as long enduring as their traditional counterparts, as they are raised on artificial synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides making them more brittle and easily rotten down. The cattle don’t like the straw of HYVs for the same reason. Perhaps the straws of HYVs are not as tasteful as the long-straw indigenous varieties due to the same reason !
Moreover the straw thatches are to be replaced after several years and the thatching operations are to be done by some specialised people who are also on the decrease.
But the thatched houses are very comfortable unlike those made up of concrete roofs. Mud houses are also cooler in summer days and warmer in winter days. But they are being replaced for the reason that they are infested by rats and their day-to-day maintenance is somewhat difficult.
The house sparrows are losing their natural shelter and habitat as they can’t adjust and adapt in the brick-built concrete-roofed houses.