Efforts on to retain them in urban landscape

The traditional thatched and tiled roof houses have given way to concrete structures in urban areas, denying the much needed space for sparrows to rest and roost.

Sparrows are found largely in Europe, Africa and Asia. Even as March 20 was being observed as International Sparrow Day, activists and nature lovers involved in protecting the birds point out that very little is being done to protect the existing population of sparrows.

Nature Education Officer of Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) P. Pramod says modern constructions deny space for the birds. “Sparrows still manage to remain part of the urban life by finding room inside cardboard boxes and switch boxes. But the main challenge for them is the non-availability of food.”

Sparrows feed on insects and to an extent helped to reduce the usage of pesticides. But today, greenery has become a rarity in urban areas, forcing the birds to struggle for food.

Radiation

Studies in developed countries indicate that radiation from mobile phone towers were one of the reasons for dwindling sparrow population.

Realising the value of sparrows and their role in biological control of insects, efforts are on to retain them in the urban landscape. Studies were done by SACON Director P.A. Azeez, Joseph Reginald of SACON and Mohammed Dilawar of Nature for Ever foundation.

SACON with the help of school students has been distributing feeder box to public, which they can fill with millets and broken rice and hang outside their houses. A feeder box can easily feed 100 sparrows and they last for nearly eight years. Mr. Pramod said that sparrows should be conserved so that the children of tomorrow are not forced to learn about sparrows only through text books.