Extensive loss of habitat made Delhi sparrows disappear | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Extensive loss of habitat made Delhi sparrows disappear

There was a time when Delhiites could not turn their heads without spotting sparrows hopping around in the courtyards, looking for grains and worms to eat. It was the most recognised bird in the city, making its nests inside the ventilators and old furniture. Hamari Jamatia reports.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2012 00:25 IST
Hamari Jamatia

There was a time when Delhiites could not turn their heads without spotting sparrows hopping around in the courtyards, looking for grains and worms to eat. It was the most recognised bird in the city, making its nests inside the ventilators and old furniture.

And now, teachers at city schools have to show sparrows on computers. In the past two decades, the humble bird has started to disappear due to extensive loss of habitat. It went unnoticed till 2010, when the city woke up to the missing sparrows and held its first World House Sparrow Day on March 20.

On August 14 this year, CM Sheila Dikshit declared sparrows as the state bird. A detailed initiative called "Rise for the Sparrows" campaign has been launched to work towards increasing the bird's population.

The movement will incorporate the Common Bird Monitoring, a programme launched to save birds, in the school curriculum. It will arrange for bird-boxes in all state-run schools and offices where the birds can nest. A similar programme is already operational in Hyderabad where Nature Forever Society, the partner organisation, has been working for several years.

According to the organisation, birds have disappeared because of the loss of habitat. City homes do not have ventilators, fancy plants have replaced the indigenous ones that was the source of worms and the local kirana shops, a source of grain. have been replaced by shopping malls.

On the occasion of World Environment Day this year, the organisation along with various NGOs, including Delhi Birds, launched an innovative environmental campaign called 'Bird of the Month' to raise awareness about 18 common bird species found across India.

The initiative through the website www.cbmi.in encourages public participation for monitoring, counting and conserving these 18 common birds. Some of these common birds include the house sparrow, house crow, kingfisher, rose-ringed parakeet, myna, robin and the hoopoe.

We tell people to set up bird boxes at their houses, manure open lands and plant indigenous trees," said Rama Menon of th organisation.