While the world observed the World House Sparrow Day on March 20 to focus on the rapidly declining population of the bird, ornithologists and bird lovers in Orissa have suggested artificial breeding to increase their numbers.
“Now time has come to think of artificial breeding of house—sparrows which, once found in plenty, are now rarely seen even in more wooded rural areas,” the state’s former chief conservator of forests, Sudhakar Mohapatra, said.
It would not be long when people would no longer be able to see the familiar scene of ‘ghara chatia’ in local parlance, or ‘charai’ in Bengali, having a hearty bath in dust indicating advent of rains, bird lovers said.
Ornithologists said the bird had been put on the ‘red list’ of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Although there are no concrete data on the rapidly declining population, bird—lovers claimed that about 80 per cent of sparrows had already disappeared from the face of earth for good in the last two decades.
House sparrows generally build their nests in thatched houses, but as concrete structures are replacing more and more their thatched varieties even in rural areas, the birds are in a bind, noted ornithologist U.N. Dev says.
“This is a problem which seems to defy any solution as people will not volunteer to build thatched houses to shelter sparrows,” Mr. Dev noted.
However, Mr. Dev still has a solution: The government should suitably amend designs of houses, built under the Indira Awas Yojana, to leave space for nests, hoping they would adjust to the new surrounding of concrete buildings.
Very recently, he pointed out, in a similar case of declining Peregrine Falcons, a popular bird found in South America, city fathers of Washington and Mexico City had begun changing designs of new buildings that were coming up in order to attract the birds to build nests.
Since the house sparrow is a familiar bird in Orissa, designers should also take note of the fact while preparing the structures, Mr. Dev suggested.
“For instance, the new houses can have gardens where trees and bushes can attract the birds to build nests,” he said.