A unique, online initiative called Citizen Sparrow to document the current population and distribution of the common House Sparrow will launch from Sunday, encouraging the participation of all those with past or present information about these little birds. Interestingly, it seeks information about their absence too.

Given the fact that because they live alongside people, their absence from a habitat they are usually seen in, was a cause for concern, according to Suhel Quader of the Nature Conservation Foundation. “There is a vast store of information available with citizens across the country. We are trying to document this store of information and also see this as a way to reach out to people from all walks of life so that they can share their stories and understanding about these birds,” he said in a press release. Other organisations partnering in this initiative include the Bombay Natural History Society and the Birdwatchers' Society of Andhra Pradesh (BSAP).

Two-month project

Those interested may log on to www.citizensparrow.in and contribute their knowledge by marking locations on a map and furnish simple information about the birds' sightings, Mr. Aasheesh Pittie of BSAP, adding that the project would run for two months.

Although the House Sparrow is among the most widely-distributed birds in the world, its numbers in many places have dropped sharply in past several decades and their decline has been noticed with concern by experts, said Raju Kasumbe of the Indian Bird Conservation Network.