Life & Style

How you can bring the sparrows back

N Dhanasekar of Coimbatore’s Chittukuruvigal Arakattalai Trust has some tips for the return of the once-ubiquitous bird

“I remember sparrows visiting our homes looking for grains and water,” says N Dhanasekar. The 38-year-old is the founder of of Chittukuruvigal Arakattalai Trust that has tried to bring sparrows back to Coimbatore. Besides awareness meetings, and camps at educational institutions and Government schools, the six-year-old trust also distributes nest boxes and bird feeders to homes and institutions.

Co-exist with birds

How you can bring the sparrows back

On World Sparrow Day (March 20), Dhanasekar spoke on All India Radio about sparrows and conservation. “The association between humans and the house sparrow dates back several centuries. Their nests dotted almost every house in the neighbourhood as well as bus bays and railway stations. They lived in colonies and survived on food grains and tiny worms,” he explains. Traditions also fostered the co-existence with birds. “For example, when my mother and grandmother used a muram to clean the rice and pulses, the little bits of grains and worms would fall to the ground. The sparrows fed on them. Now, our food grains come cleaned and packed off the shelves!”

House sparrows are indicators of biodiversity, he says. “Rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides have wiped away the vital nutritious food of the sparrows. Only organic farming can bring them back in large numbers.”

High-rise buildings have also driven away the little birds away from the neighbourhood. “Modern concrete structures avoid provision that encourages nesting of birds. We have made RWH compulsory to get an approval for a new building. Similarly, we should encourage some space for the birds to nest too. It is important to introduce this culture among the public. Over time, it will become a habit, which is good for the environment, birds and the humans too,” he says.

Sparrow nests

Recently, Dhanasekar reached out to over 1,000 people who gathered for Kaanum Pongal festivities at Karattumedu village near Saravanampatti. “We put up banners on sparrow conservation and had a Q& A with the public on why the sparrows have disappeared from the cityscape. We also gave a demo on how to make a sparrow nest using discarded shoe boxes. We have to keep talking to people, especially students. It is an ongoing thing, spreading awareness. I also addressed a gathering at the Tamil Nadu Forest Academy on World Forest Day. ”

Dhanasekar has distributed over 2000 sparrow nests to the public. Made of pine wood, it is designed to provide comfortable nesting. It can be kept on terraces, windows and compound walls. “We have to ensure that the opening is just about 1.5 inches. This will stop other predators like mynas, shikras and crows from entering the nest.”

info you can use
  • To know more, visit Chittukuruvigal Arakkattalai page on Facebook or write to them at or whatsapp at 97866-98433
  • Follow chittukuruvigal.arakkatalai on Insta

Sparrows often hop around greenery and marshy bushes. “When you have more sparrows in your home, it indicates that you live in a healthy environment surrounded by agricultural lands and a water source. Nurture native plants like moringa and hibiscus in your backyard to bring them back.”

Dhanasekar is happy that students and institutions want to be associated with the trust. It has also led to many sub-organisations that restore water bodies, promote green drives with native trees and in the process conserve birdlife. “We work collectively towards the common goal of conservation. Everyone is concerned about the environment. This is a healthy sign.”

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:17:25 PM |

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