The government may have failed to do enough for sparrow conservation, but Delhi’s state bird is trying to make fresh efforts for survival in this highly hostile city.
The bird has found new nesting sites. Several nests have been spotted in the holes of newly-built flyover walls in Delhi.
Birdwatchers have found the birds and are monitoring them in the walls of flyovers at Geeta Colony and near Shakti Sthala and Shanti Van across the Yamuna, among other places.
Ecologist TK Roy said, “The sparrow is trying to adapt to alternative sites. If it survives in these habitats, its population will certainly go up. But the government needs to put in place scientific survival programmes.”
Environmentalist Mahendra Pandey, whose right to information (RTI) application revealed that the government has not spent a dime on its conservation, said, “Some areas in Shalimar Bagh have large groups of sparrows. But the overground work of Delhi Metro — probably the noise and vibration — affects them drastically.”
In the food chain, the sparrow, like other birds, is a bio-indicator. Its decline shows the disappearance of fields, bushes, trees, marshes and water bodies that is triggering extinction of species.
“No sparrow is spotted at Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The Jantar Mantar road houses several varieties of birds (18 species spotted recently) but does not have sparrows,” Pandey said.
The RTI application was filed at the department of environment. The department, which has been the face of a ‘sparrow protection’ campaign, said the matter was not related to it.
It transferred the application to the department of forests and wildlife, which transferred it on the same ground to various divisions of the forest department.
In reply, one division (headquarters) said there had been no expenditure on sparrow’s protection or on awareness campaigns. The reply also said there had been no study to identify areas where the fast-disappearing bird still is found.
The two other divisions (south and north) simply resorted to ‘no information available’ to all the questions.