Before rushing to the Delhi Assembly to present the annual budget, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will make time and present specially created nests to a group of students on Wednesday morning to mark World Sparrow Day.
The children will put these nests in schools. They will also adopt parks to monitor the hardly seen perky sparrows.
Environmentalists feel the Delhi government, which notified the sparrow as Delhi’s state bird in October last year, needs to do much more. “The bird is a bio-indicator in the food chain. The disappearance of fields, bushes, trees, marshes and water bodies is triggering the extinction of species,” said TK Roy, a bird expert.
A common bird monitoring project has completed a year. Mohammed Dilawar of Nature Forever Society said, “Monitoring was done across states and data was submitted by citizen scientists. Delhi registered monitoring at 170 locations, which is the highest in the country. It’s encouraging, but more needs to be done.”
“We’re sensitising RWAs and schools through posters and calendars. We’re creating special ‘sparrow corners’ in about 2,000 schools and holding expert lectures for students. We provide grants to NGOs in their conservation efforts,” said BC Sabata of Delhi’s environment department.
“People’s interest has gone up in sparrow conservation. Monitoring has allowed us to compile data which was not possible earlier,” he said.
There is an online portal (www.cbmi.in), where people can register themselves and monitor these birds. Through this, the government will have a distribution map which will help promote kitchen gardens and artificial nesting.
Loss of habitat due to rapid urbanisation is the main reason behind the absence of the sparrow, which was earlier often seen feeding on foodgrains, insects and worms. Radiation from cell phone towers, vehicular emission and lack of vegetable production along the river are other reasons.
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) will also monitor 40-50 common birds such as sparrows to know their population and area-specific distribution before it starts a conservation project.