The Anjuman-e-Najmi that represents Burhani Foundation (India) celebrates its spiritual head's birthday in a unique way. Members distribute bird feeders to people in an effort to lure sparrows back into their lives

When was the last time you spotted a sparrow, from your balcony? Once they were everywhere. However, in the last few decades, the sparrow population has reduced by nearly half. Lack of nesting and breeding sites (deforestation of native trees and nurturing of exotic trees and manicured lawns in their place), pollution, presence of mobile towers, lack of insect food and use of unhealthy pesticides are some of the important reasons for the sparrow's decline.

Alarm bells

These birds, being an indicator of environmental health, need to be saved before they can be seen only in books or on the internet.

Alarmed by their decline, a lot of organizations are taking up efforts to coax sparrows back into their backyards.

In an effort to boost the sparrow population in the country, the Burhani Foundation (India) set out to distribute bird feeders across India, last Sunday. This was as part of their spiritual head's 100th Milad Mubarak (birthday) celebrations. Project SOS (Save Our Sparrows) is the first of its kind attempt to distribute bird feeders in the country. This organization has been advocating environmental awareness and research around the world, for the past 20 years. The foundation has also been involved in other significant projects like vermiculture and organic farming.

An all India affair

In nearly 260 cities and townships across the country - in states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, free bird feeders and installation manuals were distributed to individuals, schools and various institutes.

In Coimbatore, Anjuman-e-Najmi took up this noble task of distributing feeders, in the presence of G.Ramamoorthy, Asst. Commissioner of Police, Nagarajan, Village Administrative Officer and Sheikh Shabbir Rangoonwaala, President, Anjuman-e-Najmi. Around 300 bird feeders were distributed during this event (inclusive of those distributed to people in Kochi, Kozhikode and Erode). A bird feeder is a specially designed device that is placed outdoors to supply food for wild birds. To help attract sparrows, the manual suggests that the user fill the feeder with bajra, ragi and broken rice. Other details such as hygiene, maintenance and installation processes were screened in the form of a presentation.

For the records

At the end of the day, approximately 52,000 bird feeders were distributed across the country. Data from all corners of the country were compiled for submission to the headquarters of Guinness World Records, in an attempt to set a record for distributing the maximum number of bird feeders in the world.

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