Endeavouring to bring sparrows back

Endeavouring to bring sparrows back
Highlights

Endeavouring to bring sparrows back.House sparrows are one of the most widespread birds on this planet. These birds are generally attracted to buildings for roosting, nesting and cover.

House sparrows are one of the most widespread birds on this planet. These birds are generally attracted to buildings for roosting, nesting and cover. The most common nesting sites are clothesline poles with the end caps open, lofts, kitchens, gardens, etc. The sparrow makes its home in areas closely associated with human habitation.

They are also known to be quite aggressive in usurping the nesting sites of other birds, often forcibly evicting the previous occupants and sometimes building a nest on top of another active nest with live nestlings. However, their population is declining rapidly due to dangers posed by a host of factors, including mobile phone towers, which prompted a UK-based forum to enlist the tiny birds in the ‘Red List’ of endangered avian species.

A Hyderabad-based NGO dubbed as Animal Rehabilitation and Protection Front (ARPF), which is working in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State, and also other north Indian States, has launched an initiative to protect and conserve the already disappearing house sparrows by organising workshops.

The ARPF is actively engaged in animal conservation, animal study and birds watching and organises camps and assists the forest department also in conservation programme.A team of ARPF volunteers travelling in a train had a brush with CityTAB and shared the story of sparrow conservation initiatives undertaken by the NGO.

Nihar Parulekar, the founder president of ARPF, stated that the volunteers had taken up the programme of making sparrow nests and installing them at green points and in individual houses to entice the birds. Several hundreds of nests had been installed much ahead of World Sparrow Day, which fell on Thursday.

Ashruth, who had made several nests, termed the experience as “very adventurous, interesting and heartwarming. This work has obsessed me and nothing really captured my attention other than my studies.”On the birds, Nihar added that the house sparrow was an intelligent bird that can adapt to most situations, nest sites, food and shelter.

“So it has become the most abundant songbird in the world. Sparrows are social birds and tend to flock together through most of the year. A flock’s range covers 1.5-2 miles but it will cover a large territory if necessary when searching for food. Their main diet consists of grin seeds, especially waste grain and live stock feed. if grain is not available its diet is broad and adaptable.

It also eats weeds and insects, especially duing the breeding season. The parasitic nature of house sparrow is quite evident as they are avid seekers of garbage tossed out by humans. In spring flowers are often eaten crocuses, primroses and aconites seem to attract the house sparrow most. They also hunt butterflies.

The NGO engages in multifarious programmes including protection of snakes and prevention of cruelty and conservation of sea turtles and other endangered species. The green army goes to different parts of the state and country to undertake conservation measures and organises discovery trips in a quest to study the marvels of creation.

By Ravi P Benjamin

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