Once there was a sparrow

Sparrows spotted in Malleswaram. (DH Photo/Satish Badiger)

Try as you might, you will be find it hard to come across  sparrows in Bengaluru. Once ubiquitous, the little bird is yet to return to the city, thanks to reckless urbanisation.

Ornithologists are now calling for sustained efforts to revive the dwindling sparrow population in the city.

According to them, just keeping nest boxes and feeders have yielded little results over the years. Since the last five years, on every World Sparrow Day on March 20, ornithologists and conservationists distribute around 100 bamboo-made, nest and feeder boxes free of cost. Each box costs the distributor around Rs 400. But the initiative doesn’t seem to have helped.

As a result, sparrows have now become localised to smaller places in the city, such as Yeshwanthpur or KR Market, which is not a good sign.

Ornithologists are now requesting the government and builders to change the construction pattern and build more eco-friendly buildings having crevices.

They add that city outskirts, where sparrows are found, need careful planning. According to them, the Kempegowda International Airport is a threat for sparrows. 

Ecologist and ornithologist M B Krishna says there has been little success with the nest boxes. “It is important to understand that it is about just nest boxes but creating an environment for sparrows. Pollution, loss of native trees and lung spaces are also a major concern,” he says.

According to him, sparrows need insects, which can be found on native and fruit-bearing tree species, instead of mono-culture and lawns. The idea of BBMP creating smaller parks is good.

“To bring them back a lot needs to be done, especially in town planning,” says Krishna.

Sudhira H S, Director Gubbi Labs, who did a study on sparrows, says over 40 sparrows were seen near Yeshwanthpur railway station on Tumkur Road.

“But after the tree was cut to make way for foot overbridge, they disappeared. A few individual sparrows were seen in Malleswaram 5th Cross, but since last year they are not to be seen. Some can still be seen in Sudhamanagar, Jakkur and Sanjayanagar,” says Sudhira.

Mohammed Dilawar, Founder and President of Nature Forever Society, popularly known as ‘Sparrow Man’, advocates planting local tree species apart from keeping nest boxes.

“There is also a need for sustained effort. Many pay attention for a month or so and later forget. Government and builders should also be roped in for eco- friendly buildings,” he says.

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