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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Late declaration of World House Sparrow Day

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The International initiative by Nature Forever Society, the Mombay Natural History Society, Cornel Lab of Ornithology (U.S.), Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France), Avon Wildlife Trust (U.K.) and numerous other national and international organisation to mark March 20 as World House Sparrow Day and the resultant momentum increasing for the conservation of birds across the globe has been a much awaited episode in the wildlife conservation. 
March 20 has been declared "World House Sparrow Day" 
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has already put House Sparrow in the Red List Category and a number of authors and researchers have already been stressing on the need of conservation of the bird species. M. P. Mishra (2009), has already reported about the serious decline of House Sparrows in the Indian state of Jharkhand. The current declaration to mark March 20 as World House Sparrow Day has been made in view of drawing the attention of Government Agencies and the Scientific Community across the globe for more conservation measures and research on this common bird species and urban biodiversity.

It is important to note that the common bird species of House Sparrow that has been a part of human residential life from centuries in India and many other countries is going out of sight for more than a decade. Earlier, every morning in rural India used to start with chirping of birds mingled with chit- chit of house sparrows but the modern man going to bed late night with busy mind and waking up in the morning with a number of plans in the head forgets to care that the usual chirping of birds around him is no more now. Secondly, the greed of expansion of land for housing and construction has cleared most of the trees in urban areas and least greenery is left here and there. The cloud of smoke and fumes and smog laden morning air threaten our winged friends against coming out in the sky divided with numerous high barriers of mobile phone towers, T.V. Towers, sky scrappers, apartments, high tension electric wires, flyovers, mast lights and high railway constructions etc. The building design of earlier houses used to be friendly to the nesting preferences of house sparrows but today’s buildings do not leave any space for them.

The Green Revolution started in some parts of the world to raise food production and to feed the hungry, is going on introducing numerous poisonous agrochemicals including insecticides, pesticides and fungicides in the crop fields. These poisonous chemicals join the natural food chain and enter into the bodies of birds and either damage their reproductive capacities or kill them. On the other hand, sparrows that depend mostly on insects for their food are starving as insects are being killed more often unnecessarily by the application of seriously poisonous chemicals. A survey report has recently revealed that the population of sparrows has fallen up to 60 per cent even in rural areas of India. The latest sparrow census reveals that there has been an 80 per cent decline in the number of sparrows during the past decade.

Even in buildings having tiled roofs, the nests of sparrows are deliberately destroyed or eradicated during the repair works. Agents of estates and property surveyors insist on removing sparrow-nests. It is very sad to note that many people do not like birds hence they do everything to keep them away. I have a similar experience in this regards and the story goes like this- My wife who is a religious lady, used to scatter rice and other small grains in the surrounding so as to attract birds. One day the house lady saw her doing this from the upper story. That was a very bad day for us. She clearly stated- scattering grains attracts birds and I hate them to see in my campus. I felt very sorry that in feeding , caring and  educating my children I have not so far been able to purchase a piece of land and to built even a hut of my own where I can invite birds for taking food and drinking water of good quality. Before this one, I lived in another house where my son had been taking care of a lactating bitch with three children. One of those pups became his friend and started living in the same campus. I remember that we had to leave that rented house as the house owner misbehaved us for keeping a pup and attracting street dogs by offering them food leftovers. The story is a long one and here we have no space to narrate the same in detail. Sparrows live where roofs have holes, and sufficient cover is available for hiding and searching food. Hedges and dense bushes too provide them chance to find suitable nesting places in case house- owners do not allow them to build nests in their houses. Every inch of space now has a high price in cities and people don’t leave even this much of space around them. In many places I have seen sparrows building nests in transformers and expired vapor lights. This type of forced nesting can be seen at many places in urban areas.

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