World Sparrow Day
Where have the house sparrows gone? It is a question ornithologist, researchers and bird watchers in the city have been asking for long. As we observe World Sparrow Day, experts say before we can ascertain whether the population of sparrows is dwindling or the birds have just flown away from the older habitats, a proper nation-wide bird monitoring system needs to be put in place. “All we have at present is efforts by a few individuals and researchers in scattered areas to count the number of sparrows and not a country-wide repository of data. We actually don’t know what is happening,” said M.B. Krishna, ecologist and ornithologist.
Merely saying that the numbers are going down is not the right approach, he said and added that factors contributing to the decline need to be studied. “One issue is urbanisation and loss of agricultural fields. Also, the chicks of sparrows are very tiny and feed on insects. But, the insect populations itself is going down either because there are fewer plants which attract insects or the over use of pesticides, which kills them. Another problem is the lack of nesting and roosting sites. What we need is incorporating greenery in modern planning,” he said.
This year, the society is trying to build public participation by organising awareness programmes in Cubbon Park, Lalbagh and Bannerghatta Biological Park. “We have also identified places in Bengaluru, which have sparrow population and will be working with the locals to install bird feeders and nest boxes to increase the number of sparrows,” said Mr. Dilawar, adding that people’s involvement in conservation efforts is absolutely necessary to succeed and it is possible in Bengaluru, which has a very active birding community.
“While sparrows were found in almost all parts of the city once, now they are restricted to fewer areas. Magadi Road, Marathahalli, Chickpet, Sultanpet, Rajajinagar and Ramamurthy Nagar have a larger population,” said SharathBabu, city coordinator of the society. The society is giving away 210 feeder boxes and 65 nest boxes in places where at least a few sparrows have been spotted to increase the numbers.
Courtesy : Lokesh