Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Indian Temple Town Sets Up Sparrow City

Sparrows find refuge in Indian temple town
News Date: 20th February 2012

Sonepur is the first district in India to conserve house sparrows. People here began a drive Sunday to conserve the bird species, which is on the verge of extinction.

The venture to save the dwindling population of house sparrows is jointly taken up by the district administration and the department of forest and environment.

Around 100 artificial nests specially modeled for nesting of house sparrows have been installed on the roof of the Gundicha temple, which is a hub of house sparrows. Some nests were distributed among the local residents who showed interest in the conservation drive. An awareness meeting on the conservation of house sparrows was also held.

Sonepur, also known as Subarnapur, is a town and district headquarters of Subarnapur district of Orissa, eastern India.

Sushil Tripathy, Sonepur forest range officer and coordinator of the drive, said conservationists worldwide were concerned about the dwindling population of house sparrows. "The dwindling population of house sparrows is of global concern and several campaigns and drives are being taken up to save these birds. Sonepur is the first district in the country where an official initiative has been made to conserve house sparrows. There are instances of individual efforts in Berhampur and Keonjhar, but this is the first official initiative," Tripathy said.

He added that two environmentalists who worked for conservation of house sparrows in Berhampur had surveyed the population of house sparrows in the district. "They found that there were no signs of the birds except in a few villages. In Sonepur, the birds were found in very few numbers. They had prescribed the model nest, which would serve as the habitat of these birds. Around 100 terracotta nests were built for the nesting. Some more were distributed among the local residents to use in their homes," he said.

Tripathy said the administration was planning to take the initiative to other parts of the district soon. "We will select seven villages from each blocks of Sonepur where there is a population of the bird. Soon we will involve them in the drive by providing them with the required number of artificial nests. This will pay off in the long run," he said.

According to environmentalist Ghasiram Panda, the dwindling population of the bird is because of the loss of their natural habitat.

"If we can provide them with an alternative habitat, their population may grow. In this respect, it is a unique and innovative idea to provide them with artificial nests, which have all the facilities of nesting. It is important to save these birds from extinction", Panda said.

Source: GNA

Sunday, 5 February 2012

India: House Sparrows set up homes in SACON free nests

Sparrows flock to nests placed at homes in Ganapathy Ma Nagar

COIMBATORE: V Shanmugham and his family don't require an alarm to wake up. Each morning, they are woken up by the chirping sparrows that nest in their house.

A few months ago, Shanmugham, a regional manager in a private company, was given a nest and sparrow food by students of Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural Sciences and Young Indians.

These students were conducting an experiment in Ganapathy Ma Nagar to strengthen the sparrow population, which is fast dwindling.

Shanmugham noticed a pair of sparrows nested inside a lamp cover in his garden. The students encouraged him to place the nest closer to his house.

"I am happy to help in this cause," he said.

Within a few days, he noticed a pair of sparrows in the next.

He added another nest, inviting more sparrows.

Now he has five to six sparrows that have made their nest in his home.

P Gnanasekaran, another resident of Ma Nagar said the more nests he put up at home, more sparrows set up home there.

Joseph Reginald, research scholar at SACON involved in the project said that ever since the project was initiated there is considerable increase in the sparrow population in the area.

"During our study, we found 15 locations where sparrows thrive. Ganpathy Ma Nagar and Walayar were selected for this project which started in August, with 90 nests placed in various areas. At least 300 sparrows were identified in Ganapathy Ma Nagar, which is the highest congregation in the city. About 70% of the nests placed in other areas have been occupied by the birds, indicating that nesting has helped improve breeding potential in the region," said Reginald.

Rapid urbanisation and increasing pollution is spelling doom for the small sparrow, which was earlier found in large numbers in the city. "Sparrows have been dwindling mainly due to lack of food and nesting sites. Modern buildings do not provide crevices and nooks for them to nest. Also, sparrow fledglings feed exclusively on insects for the first 15 days," he said.

The insect population is on the decline due to lack of native plants and other vegetation in urban areas, he added. Conservation in India is happening in isolation. There is a need to involve the common man. "Distributing bird feeders will directly leave conservation efforts in the hands of the people," Reginald added.

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SparrowSquad notes this is the second free nest project that has been successful in India. People in other countries, cities and towns may want to try providing nests to encourage the House Sparrow to live where they live. Meanwhile, congratulations to SACON, to its dedicated students and to the people who responded so positively to the project.