Naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts, here is a cheering piece of news — sparrows are still found in several residential areas in Chennai.
A small effort by the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS) led to the sighting of sparrows by people, who informed the society about the sightings through email and phone. MNS president K.V. Sudhakar said as part of World Sparrow Day — observed on Tuesday — the society created an exclusive e-mail ID which was circulated among its members. They had been asked to share the mail ID with friends. This brought in the information regarding spotting of sparrows in various residential areas.
Triplicane, Tiruvottiyur, Medavakkam, Adyar, Santhome, Nungambakkam, R.A. Puram, Choolaimedu, Villivakkam, Besant Nagar, Pudupet and Chitlapakkam — these were some of the areas from where the MNS received information about sighting of sparrows, Mr. Sudhakar said.
Naturalists attribute two important reasons for sighting of sparrows in certain residential areas: the presence of old houses, which provided a safe nesting spot for these small birds, and availability of food grains and millets.
With this baseline data, the MNS is planning to create a Sparrow Map of Chennai. The map will identify those pockets where sparrows are still holding. The Society also has requested those who sent information about the sightings to take care of the birds by scattering grains, keeping a box or a pot for these birds to nest and keeping water in small earthen pots.
The MNS also plans to organise a sparrow photography contest. Under this the participants will have to take pictures of the sparrow — feeding, nesting and mating. The best picture will get an award, Mr. Sudhakar said. A study on why sparrows are not commonly found in the city neighbourhoods will also be taken up soon, he added.