Sparrow is our state bird | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sparrow is our state bird

Delhi government notifies common sparrow as state bird; to work on action plan to save the species. Darpan Singh reports.

delhi Updated: Oct 27, 2012 01:49 IST
Darpan Singh

It's official. Sparrow is Delhi's state bird.

The Delhi government has issued a notification to this effect. Now, the government is working on an action plan to sensitise people, especially children, about saving the bird and preserving its habitat. "We need to protect sparrows and bring them back, besides raising awareness on their life and habitat," a top government official told Hindustan Times.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had made a declaration in this regard on August 15 this year. The government will first monitor these birds and create a distribution map.

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"We will first work in areas where there is some presence of these birds. We want to promote, especially in schools, the concepts of kitchen gardens and artificial nesting. We hope their (the sparrows') numbers increase. Otherwise, the task will be more difficult," the official said.

"Methyl nitrate - emitted by vehicles - is one reason why these birds are becoming extinct. Vegetable production along the river, which used to attract sparrows, is also becoming a thing of the past," he said.

"Cell phone towers are another reason. Studies have suggested these birds, after they leave nests in search of food, lose ways because of waves and often do not get back. They migrate to areas where there are foodgrain markets or small shrubs," he said.

Mohammad Dilawar, a bird activist, said, "We have tied up with the government in this conservation project. We're drafting guidelines for creation of more habitats, and getting these birds back to Delhi.

Founder of Nature Forever Society, Dilawar has set up an online portal - Common Bird Monitoring of India (www.cbmi.in), where people can register themselves and monitor the birds around their offices, homes and school.

Information has also been uploaded about various species of birds and the ways to monitor them and record data.

"In the food chain, this bird, like many others, is a bio-indicator. To be able to save this bird will also mean we have made the environs we live in better," he said.

"The Delhi government has plans to incorporate common bird monitoring in the school curriculum in the city. Nature Forever Society will provide the logistics," said the official.

Experts had said that due to reduction of open spaces, the birds had been declining in number and there was an urgent need to reverse the decline.

Rampant urbanisation has eroded habitat for common bird species in metropolitan cities such as Delhi.

Therefore, conservation efforts - apart from raising awareness among the people about the fact that the common birds around them are in danger - focusses extensively on endeavours to save habitat.