Sunday, 4 September 2011

Raising the Awareness of Young People about House Sparrow Decline

Twenty-six high school students in Ganapathy, Coimbatore, India, are involved in a project to to protect House Sparrows sponsored by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) based in Anaikatty. The project aims to bring back the species to the Ganapathy neighbourhood by creating a natural habitat for them in residential gardens with feeding cans and nestboxes.

The Times of India (1 September 2011) reports:

'"Till some years ago, I could spot many sparrows around my house. But the numbers have really dwindled. We hardly see any sparrows these days," says Fiona Desimon, a student and avid bird lover.

"The awareness programme conducted by SACON helped us understand the problem and it is really sad to know their population is dwindling by the day. By putting up feeding cans, we can help the sparrows increase in numbers," she added.

Joseph Reginald, a research scholar at SACON, said the students would be taken to various places in the city to understand sparrow behaviour and habitat.

"During our study, we found 15 places in the city with a substantial sparrow population. Of these, we selected Ganapathy Ma Naga and Walayr for our project. The students will distribute (free) nests and feeding cans to houses in these areas," Joseph said.

"The destruciton of nests and rapid urbanisaiton are the reasons for the exstinction of birds in cities," said R Kumar Moorthy, a student active in the project. "The root cause of the disappearance of these birds is massive development work which leads to the cutting of trees and mangroves. Pollution, too, compounds the problem."'

SparrowSquad writes: A similar loss of habitat in the United Kingdom is also partly responsible for the House Sparrow demise in the United Kingdom. We feel a balance has to be created by Town and City Planners that meets the needs of birds, animals and people. You can help the House Sparrow by being alert to the material changes in your neighbourhood that would deprive House Sparrows of nesting sites and food sources. In the UK, every resident of a Borough has the right to object to Planning Applications. Good luck!

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