World Sparrow Day is celebrated for the conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds
As World Sparrow Day is being celebrated across the globe, the city-based Vyagra Foundation is busy distributing nest boxes and millet to people as part of its efforts to protect common house sparrows.
Speaking to ANI, Navneet Kumar Pandey, Vyagra Foundation President, said, “The main aim of our foundation is to work for sparrow conservation.” Talking about the idea behind sparrow conservation, Pandey said, “One day I was sitting at the terrace of my home and realised that sparrows have started vanishing from our surroundings. When I was small I used to see my parents feeding so many sparrows that used to sit at the veranda of our home.”
“At that moment I thought about what can be done to bring them back and conserve them. Then with a few more men, I started distributing birdhouses, millet, water pots to people in our neighbourhood and now there are so many sparrows in our vicinity,” he said.
“Today you will find thousands of nests distributed by Vyagra Foundation in several houses of Varanasi. Not only Varanasi, people from Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Lucknow and many other cities come to collect birdhouses and other material to feed these sparrows, from us. In fact, when sparrows occupy these birdhouses, people shoot a video of them and post them on social media. This makes me feel happy and proud,” he added.
The foundation had distributed over 1000 sparrow nest all over India. Two clay pots, and 1 kg of food (Bajra), and two nests is gifted to anyone who takes an oath to feed and take care of the sparrows.
Dr. B.D. Tripathi, Course Co-ordinator, Environmental science, Banaras Hindu University and an expert member of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), said, “I remember when we were young, we had more Kuccha houses and sparrows used to make nests in these houses and unlike today, there used to be many sparrows around us. That was an indicator that at that time, the air, water and soil were clean. Just like there were Dolphins in the Ganga river, similarly, the sparrows used to inhabit Kucha houses.”
“Now there are pucca houses and no space is left for these birds to make nests. Moreover, due to pollution, the fertility of these birds has reduced drastically as a result of which their population has reduced a lot.
Therefore, today there is a need for sparrow conservation,” added Tripathi.
Indra Pal Singh Batra, owner, Goriah House, said, “I have been doing this work for 15 to 18 years now. At that time only I had realised that sparrows were vanishing from our colony that was very green earlier but now so many buildings have come up. So, I felt the need to protect these birds. I love birds so much that I do not feel happy in their absence. I planted trees in and around my house and started watching Discovery take an idea about how can we build nests for them.”
“Initially I took 10 to 12 flowerpots and created a hole at its base and got them placed at the walls of my house. When I saw all of them occupied by birds I got similar 100 flowerpots placed inside my house. Slowly and gradually all of them got occupied. At present, in an area of 300 square metres in the vicinity of my house, there are 25 to 25 house sparrows,” said Batra.
He further said that to protect these birds he has planted Baigan Belia plants because they are thorny and protect these birds from big birds like hawks and eagles.
“Gradually people started appreciating this initiative and they too planted Baigan Belia around their houses. People are now aware of protecting these birds and their numbers will further increase with time,” he said.
World Sparrow Day is celebrated on March 20 every year. The idea of celebrating World Sparrow Day is to earmark a day for the House Sparrow to convey the message of conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds and also mark a day of celebration to appreciate the beauty of the common biodiversity which we take so much for granted.
The day has a broader vision to provide a platform where people who are working on the conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds can network, collaborate and exchange conservation ideas which will lead to better science and improved results.
The rationale for celebrating World Sparrow Day is not only to commemorate the event for a day but to use it as a platform to underscore the need to conserve sparrows as well as the urban biodiversity.