When the world is focussing on ways to conserve the sparrow, a small group of auto-rickshaw drivers is making a significant, albeit silent, contribution to this endeavour.

On Thursday, the focus in this hill station was on an auto-rickshaw stand at the busy Five Lanterns Junction where the drivers have been maintaining a small patch of greenery for hundreds of sparrows.

Overwhelming support

In recognition of this effort, conservationists such as the Nilgiris Environment and Cultural Service Trust (NEST), the Tamil Nadu Green Movement (TNGM), the Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam and the Deiveega Narpani Manram joined hands to draw people’s attention to it.

Managing Trustee of NEST V. Sivadass told The Hindu that the situation on the sparrow conservation front may be grim but efforts such as those of the auto-rickshaw drivers provide a ray of hope. Thanks to them and the traffic garden they maintain, the air in the area is filled with the chirping of over 500 sparrows, particularly in the evening.

Way of life

Autorickshaw driver M.S. Mohamed Ali, who has been providing water to the birds, said that it had become a way of life for him and the other drivers. Another driver, Krishnan, regretted that the noise in the area was affecting the birds. Some traders said they help the drivers in the conservation efforts.

About two years ago, a bird lover, Sharan Deep Singh of Kotagiri, placed a few mud pots with holes in the garden for the sparrows to nest. While they are still serving their purpose, a good number of nests have also come up.