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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Protect Sparrows

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Sparrow birds are a family of small passerines named as Passeridae. These birds live for three short years. Their wingspan is usually 21cm and they can fly with an average speed of 45.5 km per hour. They live in families. Average body mass of a sparrow is quoted as 0kg. The length of an average sparrow is 11cm.
The common house sparrow is one of the most beautiful and active birds. These are one of the most familiar winged companions of human beings. Over the period of time these birds have evolved with us.
At one time a very common sight, in the past few years, this bird has been on the decline over much of its natural range, both in the urban and rural habitats. The decline of the house sparrow is an indicator of the continuous degradation of the environment. The house sparrow is, in a sense, an ambassador to the common bird species. The hope is that the conservation of the house sparrow and its habitat will in turn help save much of the common biodiversity, which shares the habitat of the house sparrows.
Conservation to generate awareness towards the need of conservation of these birds the World Sparrow Day is celebrated on March 20. The rationale for celebrating World Sparrow Day is not only to commemorate the event for a day, but also to use it as a platform to highlight the need to conserve sparrows as well as urban biodiversity. The event aims to bring together individuals, national and international groups. The aim is also to attract the attention of government agencies and the scientific community to take notice of the need for the conservation of the common bird species and urban biodiversity.
Scientists first started to notice a decline in the number of the house sparrow in the 1990s. Over the last few years several campaigns, outreach and awareness programmes, research surveys have been carried out to understand the decline of a species that had learned to exist in and around human habitations and was found in huge numbers in urban areas.
World wide, countries have participated in various activities to celebrate the World House Sparrow Day. Citizen Sparrow is an ongoing citizen science project in India in which members of the public are encouraged to contribute information on presence and absence of the house sparrow from different locations and for different time periods. All the observational records are plotted on a map. This can be done by an individual or a school group or an NGO and even corporate companies as a part of their corporate social responsibility. What others have done Students from schools can distribute handbills to the public and scattered millets for sparrows. In 2012, people in Bristol recorded house sparrow sightings and blogged about it.
The Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, declared the house sparrow the state bird of Delhi in 2012. Addressing school children at her residence during a function organised to celebrate Wildlife Week, Ms. Dikshit said that the idea behind making the house sparrow the State bird was to protect it. The Nature Forever Society in association with the Burhani Foundation (India) started ‘SOS’ (Save Our Sparrow), which was an initiative in which they distributed 52,000 bird feeders in 2012 across the world on a non-profit basis. The Indian Postal Department released a stamp of the house sparrow along with the rock pigeon on March 20, 2010.
We can do
We can put bird boxes and bird feeders outside your house or in your gardens. Water-bowls or a bird-bath in the hot summer afternoon helps birds to re-hydrate. So we can go for making bird baths to comfort sparrows and of course, to other birds as well. We should grow plants and hedges that are native to the place so as to encourage some of the common birds to come back.We can run common bird monitoring programmes to conserve our local birds. Also, to document the current population of sparrows in gardens and backyards can be done by making a questionnaire survey involving interviews of citizens about house sparrows. One of the persons of the Verma Press Ranchi, Jharkhand, India, is contributing a lot in the conservation of birds by making arrangements for the feeding and nesting of common sparrows. After the days hectic schedules, sparrows gather on the Areca Palm trees in front of the office of Mr. Sushil Kumar of Verma Press and arrange a meeting there in which each sparrow has to reveal the story of the works performed during the day.

Key Words: house sparrow, World Sparrow Day, conservation.

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