Andhra Pradesh

Bringing the house sparrows back home

A sparrow cleaning itself at an apartment garden.

A sparrow cleaning itself at an apartment garden.  

Sighting the once-ubiquitous bird is now a rarity in the city

The house sparrow was ubiquitous in the city till the 1970s. From around 1976, their population started to decline, and today, sighting a house sparrow is a rarity.

Birdwatchers and environmental activists cite many reasons for the disappearance of the common avian species that once was part of every household.

“A main reason is the change in the model of construction. From the earlier roofing system of using bricks and wooden beams or terracotta tiles, the construction moved towards the reinforced cement concrete (RCC) roofing model. This model prevents birds from building their nests. This has caused a large-scale migration,” said J.V. Ratnam, founder of Green Climate Team.

This apart, pollution and other factors such as electronic-magnetic radiation from mobile phone towers and large-scale urbanisation have reduced their population drastically. Rampant use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides is also another reason.

Mr. Ratnam was speaking at a function organised at the KDPM High School, Peda Waltair, by Paryavarana Margadarsi Vaisakhi and Green Climate Team, on the eve of World Sparrow Day.

Based on this year’s theme ‘I love sparrows’, a programme was organised at the school to create awareness on the protection of the endangered bird species.

“We have been creating awareness on sparrow protection by keeping food and water for these birds and also urging people to come forward to place bird nests made with clay pots, coconut shells and bamboo baskets at available places in the city,” said Mr. Ratnam.

PMV and Green Climate have so far organised awareness programmes at 280 locations, and people are now able to see the sparrows chirp.

Simple steps

“It has been over two decades since I last saw a sparrow or heard its chirping sound. Recently, we placed a clay pot on the terrace and put some hay in it. We also placed some food and water for the birds. Within a few days, a sparrow family built its nest and have now started inhabiting it,” said Amit Sharma, an environment enthusiast.

Tirumala Sri Devi, a teacher at KDPM School, said that one can celebrate Sparrow Day by keeping a bowl of water and grains for the sparrows to feed on and allow them to build their nests.

“Sparrows are farmer- and human-friendly birds. They help in pollination of plants and help farmers by eating insects harmful to plants. By bringing them back, we will help safeguard our children’s future with a green and healthy environment,” Ms. Sri Devi said.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 5:11:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/bringing-the-house-sparrows-back-home/article31112246.ece

Next Story