Students’ bid to conserve a bird species

Waking up to the chirping of sparrows might be a distant dream for many. But on World Sparrow Day, which was observed on Thursday, the Green Club of The American College was determined to bring about a difference.

The students placed around 30 earthen pots filled with straw and grains of millets on different trees on the college campus.

“With the population of these small and brown birds fast dwindling, we have a responsibility to take steps to conserve and protect the species,” said M. Rajesh, Assistant Professor of Zoology at the college and Tamil Nadu Coordinator of ‘Mahiru’ Foundation, which has been actively involved in the conservation of sparrows across the country.

“They have spearheaded an initiative under which cardboard nest boxes are provided to people who can keep it in their houses for sparrows,” explained Karunyal Samuel, Dean, and coordinator of Green Club. “When a nest box is placed in the house with a bit of straw and a bowl of water and grains near it, it is sure to attract sparrows, if there are any in the area,” she said.

Many members of Green Club stationed themselves at Arapalayam bus stand, Periyar bus stand, Goripalayam and Keezhavasal to distribute nest boxes to the public.

“We want to take the message of sparrow conservation to the public and distribute these nest boxes and pamphlets free of cost,” said E. Iniyan of the Commerce Department.

Many factors are attributed to the dwindling population of house sparrows.

Lack of open spaces, rise in the number of high-rise buildings, increasing use of pesticides and insecticides on fields and gardens and rising levels of pollution are some.

“While there is a ban on smoking on our campus, we try to avoid burning garbage or dry leaves since it might chase away nesting birds from the trees. There have been sightings of nearly 10 to 15 sparrows on the campus given the vast number of trees here,” said Principal Davamani Christober.

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