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No Crows in Town; Fewer Swallows and Sparrows

By March 7, 2017 at 12:05 am

Yes, crows have left urban areas; no so many swallows and sparrows around in town these days. We used to see flocks of crow feeding on garbages and more swallows and sparrows speeding in mid-air.

True, anti-crow ridding measures are visibly working but why swallows and sparrows? It looks like they have lost their dwellings in town as aged houses and buildings are demolished in city areas. Out go crows, swallows and sparrows; in come goshawks, raptores and kingfishers.

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In Tokyo, there were 36,400 crows within the wards in 2001 and downed in number to 11,900 in 2015. The metropolitan government received 3820 complaints in 2002 and had only 223 in 2015 - a dramatic drop.

Broken down by area, an official survey by the Urban Birds Study Group, conducted every fifth year, revealed for the span 2000-2015 in such areas as the Meiji Shrine, National Biological Garden and Toshima Cemetery the number of crows dropping from 18,664 to 4816.

Director Akio Takagi of the Reforestation Division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Environment attributes this phenomenon to the traps set at public parks and seasonal drives to remove the nests at the breeding season. 

Swallows used to migrate from southeast Asia in spring but no longer bother to come to the urban areas in Japan where they find no decent place to nest. The Urban Birds Study Group confirmed in each 3x3-meter area 44 swallow nests in 1985 and only 14 in 2010.

Teppei Ara of the Japan Wild Bird Association points out that more often than not humans either destroy or disturb making nests - 10.6% in urban areas and 1.5% in suburban and rural areas.

Some birds have dropped in number as humans stopped feeding - like pigeons in Sensoji Temple in Asakusa 2000 down to 50, and the pintails in Ueno Onshi Park from 6000 down to now 70. (Nathan Shiga)

Source: Nikkei

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