Concerned over the dwindling population of house sparrows, those diminutive birds that first connected you to nature as a child and left a lasting impression?

Then join the global campaign to attract sparrows back to your home by creating a little space for them. Tweaking the earlier themes slightly, World Sparrow Day (March 20) organisations involved in the conservation of house sparrows are coming together to work for “House the sparrow” this year.

Mohammed Dilawar of the Nature Forever Society that has been in the forefront of conserving house sparrows across the country said, “This year, we want people to throw open their homes, welcome and make sparrows part of their families.”

“We do not intend to make it just a one-day event to raise public awareness about the decline of the house sparrow and throw light on the problems faced by the species in its daily fight for survival, but inspire people to take concrete steps.”

These include adopting a nest box, a feeder and providing food and clean drinking water every day. “By adopting a nest box (for details click www.natureforever.org) you are giving sparrows a home and helping them start their own family. As it has increasingly become difficult to find food and water, the next step should be to provide them. Grains such as broken rice or bajra can be filled into the scientifically designed feeders that can be hung in balconies or windows. If this is done continuously, our experience shows the return of sparrows back to localities that they were deserted earlier.”

Such sustained efforts are required to save the sparrows considering the pace of degradation of their immediate environment. “While significant attention has been paid by experts as well as the government to conserve endangered and exotic wildlife species like the tigers and elephants, common animals, birds and plants face a bleak future due to general neglect and oversight. A case in point is the Indian vulture, once widespread species that is now on the brink of extinction.”

The reasons for the house sparrows' slow but noticeable disappearance has been labelled as one of the biggest mysteries of recent times, he said. A leading newspaper in the United Kingdom - a country that has witnessed one of the biggest declines of the house sparrow population in recent times - declared a cash prize to anyone who could solve the mystery. Needless to say, the reward remains unclaimed, he added.