Remember the animation Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya … Ek Titali Anek Titaliyan … from the golden days of Doordarshan?
While one may or may not remember the documentary but almost every one has fond memory of the sparrows in it.
“The first thing a child learns about birds is through house sparrows. I remember we had lot of sparrows … even till 10 years ago or so. But now, I don’t see them anywhere,” said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Worried about the declining numbers of this bird, the CM said she had put box homes for them in her garden. “But none of them survived,” Dikshit said.
Pramod Jain, manager of the Jain Bird Hospital at Chandni Chowk added, “Earlier, we used to get injured sparrows once in a while. But for almost two years or more, we have not received any injured sparrow.”
The Chief Minister has joined hands with the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), India’s premier body in the field of documenting and conserving country’s natural heritage, to observe the first ever ‘World House Sparrow Day’ on March 20 at her official residence on Motilal Nehru Marg.
Said Mohammed Dilawar from BNHS, “There is no statistics available about the number of sparrows. But environmentalists have noticed a sharp decline in their number in the last decade or so.”
Among the main reasons are loss of habitat and nesting sites, food, effect of pesticides, microwave pollution, he said.
The BNHS, at the behest of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has embarked on a project for finding out causes of declining of house sparrow in urban sub-habitat.
He said the NGO's pilot project began six months ago at Nashik in Maharastra.
How can you help:
Environmentalist Kartick Satyanarayan from NGO Wildlife SOS said, “Earlier people had small courtyards in front of their houses. Sparrows depend on such bushes, insects from mud and also from the kitchen waste.”
“But with declining open spaces and concrete houses, all these are lost. What you can do to help is plant shrubs around your house and save parks from being converted into parking lots,” he suggested.
Sparrows and other such small birds and also butterflies remain the most poignant bio-indicators of the environs we live in. An initiative of Nature Forever Society, the World House Sparrow Day is therefore being observed by BNHS in India in coordination with other worldwide NGOs.