The tiny sparrow has suffered the biggest brunt of rapid construction by humans in the past few years. “The house sparrow also represents many of the common bird species and is, in a sense, their ambassador. Therefore, the conservation of the house sparrow and its habitat is important as it will also help save much of the common biodiversity as well,” says Oan Dilawar, Founder and President of the Nature Forever Organisation. Dilawar joined hands with a French action group to initiate World Sparrow Day, observed on March 20 every year since 2010.
It’s a small world
Lack of habitat and food are the biggest reasons for the decline in the number of sparrows. In an age of towering glass buildings accommodating offices and homes for humans, the little nooks and crannies that were once home are now gone. In the lack of natural cavities in the urban lansdcape, nest boxes are the only artificial or surrogate cavities that can help sparrows nest in safe ways and raise a family.
No food for thought either
Sparrows flourished in times when grains were stored in the open and the households would clean grains in the courtyards. Today, all grains meant for human consumption are packaged inside factories and sold from malls. The other source of food for sparrows is insects. Every region has its native plants and trees which are home to specific insects that the birds of the region feed on. Several native trees were felled to make way for cities and their place was taken by ornamental and other plants. The lack of native plants and insects in urban landscapes has taken a toll on the number of sparrows.
Apart from this, cities have a high level of pollution caused by vehicles which use non-leaded petrol and which has insecticides. The high level of microwave pollution caused by mobile phone towers are also a key reason for the decline of sparrows. The birds are also not getting other basics like dust bathing and water bathing spaces which are key habitat requirements for them.
We can make a difference
Installing nest boxes and filling them every day with some grains and water can be a key turnaround factor in helping the sparrows. These nest boxes will take care of the habitat as well as food concerns. Sparrows also need our help the most in summers, like all other birds. It is important for us to set out water for the birds, at safe heights – away from pets and predators, for birdbaths as well as for drinking.
If you are inspired to organise your own event, wherever you are, to celebrate World Sparrow Day, kindly register your event on the website of Oan Dilawar’s Forever Nature Organisation here.
Article by : Susmita Mukherjee