Calling sparrows back to our courtyards

Calling sparrows back to our courtyards

noble thought

Calling sparrows back to our courtyards

As part of a campaign to save the common house sparrow, Delhi government recently declared it the State Bird. Easily spotted until two decades ago, the little brown and grey avian is a rare sight now. 

The issue of house sparrows disappearing from big cities, including Delhi, has been a cause of concern for environmentalist and wildlife lovers for quite a while now.Though there is no official data on the number of sparrows left in India, the population of the small birds has declined the world over owing to loss of micro-habitats, decreasing spots to lay eggs, change of human lifestyle, architectural changes, changed agricultural patterns, proliferation of urban predators and microwave towers.

Recognising the decline in the number of sparrows in the City, the Delhi Government accorded this status to common bird along with launching a campaign ‘Rise for the Sparrows’ to connect people from all walks of life to save this humble, unassuming species.

Metrolife talks to environmentalists and wildlife lovers to find out if the status given to house sparrow will draw them back to our courtyards. The founder of Nature Forever Society, Mohammed Dilawar, who has been working specifically on this campaign for over a year and around seven years for increasing their numbers in general, says declaring house sparrow as the state bird will send out a significant message among both - the special and the common man.

“It was high time we did it. Generally, some rare bird is given this status but by declaring a common bird a State Bird will attract everybody’s attention towards the issue,” he says.

Dr Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay Natural History Society says it is a very positive step because it is still a common bird though not as common as it used to be but that is not enough.

“It will definitely highlight the bird’s importance for our environment but that is not enough. It has to be supported by a campaign that addresses the main purpose behind it, which is joining more and more people with the cause,” says Asad, who has been voicing concerns with rgard to preserving our ecology.

Declaration of this nature is also an acknowledgement of the urgency with which the issue of decline of sparrows has to be dealt with. Dilawar says it is important for the common man to get associated with the campaign but expecting them to work as wildlife activist is not useful and feasible.

“The campaign has been designed in such a way that they can contribute time and money as it suits them. For instance, if they spend 15 minutes every week to spot birds and submit their obser­vation at Common Bird Monitoring of India’s website, it is their contribution and very valuable for us,” he says.