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.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I'm interested in this project.
    Could you please let us know, how and where to get these free nests?