ABSTRACTSparrow extinct. Gone are days when house

ABSTRACTSparrow
population continues to decline in urban areas of India. Lack of research and
understanding has aggravated the rate of their disappearance. These birds being
an indicator of environmental health, needs to be saved before they become
extinct. Gone are days when house sparrows were the
most common birds amongst bird species in India. House sparrow is one of the
endangering species of recent times. It has various roles to play in the urban
environment and also helps to keep the ecological balance. The reasons for its
declining are many such as lack of nesting places, lack of food and
unwillingness of common man to coexist with it etc. On the whole it is an alarm
bell to all to take necessary steps to conserve the small bird. In our locality
we have taken an initiative step by setting about 30 Nest pot in various
locations & in each houses where sparrows noticed and places where chance
nesting is positive.And we have spread some grains purchased from the markets
as a source of food for the sparrows. A positive outcome was observed. Keywords: House sparrows, endangered species, Disappearing sparrows, Case
study in metro cities, Save Sparrow Project         INTRODUCTION:Sparrow is the most lovable, small and harmless
bird. Sparrows can be seen anywhere in our surroundings. It is a social bird. Many
in India have grown up with the chirruping of the house sparrows. These tiny
little grey birds have been constant companions of humans, sometimes noisy neighbors
& morning alarm bells. Unfortunately, while once you opened your windows to
be automatically greeted by their calls, the house sparrows have stopped
calling your house. Their numbers are dwindling at such a high rate, that
conservationists are concerned, that this species that has had such an amicable
relationship with the urban world, may slowly but steadily losing its
population & just not finding its little space among the concrete jungle
anymore. You were able to see a sparrow around you whenever you want some years
ago. But now days you have to search a sparrow if you want to show your
children. The population of sparrow is declining. According to a study there is
80% decline in the numbers of sparrow. Sparrow is an important part of our
life. Since we have grown to adult by observing this small and beautiful bird.
The fallen sparrow inspired Salim Ali’s carrier in ornithology. Now this is decreasing day by day. Now we have to
save this sparrow to save our environment. To aware the people 20th march is
celebrated as world sparrow day every year. OBSERVATIONS&
CONCLUSIONS:1.
In Delhi:The chirpy sounds made by these small birds are
rarely heard today; and their absence, even though tiny, is increasingly
becoming noticeable. Due to decrease in numbers, a bird as common as the sparrow
was included by the IUCN in its Red Data List of threatened species in 2002
alongside the glamorous snow leopard, tiger and red panda. How and why did
these common birds that were once regarded as dominant bird species, suddenly
disappear? This is a question frequently asked by ornithologists, researchers,
scientists, and bird lovers. At a discussion, disappearing sparrows, organised
by Toxics
Link in collaboration
with India International Centre, in Delhi, experts discussed the reasons for
the decline in the sparrow population.The destruction of wetland bird areas, loss of
shrub vegetation coupled with reduction in potential breeding sites, has
accelerated the rate of decline in the sparrow population in India. But the
major reason for this decline in their number is the scarcity of insects and
grains which serve as protein supplements for the young ones of sparrows.
The presence of anti knocking agents like lead in petrol is known to cause
deadly poisoning in birds.People in urban areas
are often seen feeding grains to rock pigeons. Due to availability of plenty
food which gives these pigeons bliss of food security has resulted in
over-explosion of their population. These pigeons are now occupying the nesting
spaces of sparrows, as a result of which the sparrow population has drastically
reduced in urban areas in the country. Calling sparrows a star
species, Koustubh Sharma, Research Associate, Nature Conservation Foundation
& Co-investigator, BNHS-Citizen Sparrow Project, noted that in the same way
as snow leopards are considered indicators of climate and environmental changes
at higher altitudes, sparrows are indicators of such changes in the urban
ecosystem; and hence can be regarded as the snow leopard of the urban
ecosystem.Evidence of absence or absence of evidenceSharma added that due to
lack of research and understanding, the reasons for the vanishing of sparrows
are still unknown. He added: “We still lack a large scale systematic community
that pools in information on species.” Appreciating the efforts made by the UK
in monitoring bird species, he said that through its systematic annual bird
monitoring programme, the country has been able to generate 10 times
more effective and efficient data than any other bigger country. The UK’s bird
monitoring programme has shown that the decline in the sparrow population in
rural and urban areas has been about 50 and 60 per cent respectively.Sensitizing citizens for protecting sparrowsRecognizing the importance of peoples’ participation in
conservation, Sharma highlighted the Citizen Sparrow Project that aims at
creating a constituency for sparrows among the citizens in India. A joint
initiative by the Bombay Natural History Society and Ministry of
Environment and Forests, this project is inviting inputs by citizens on the
sightings of sparrows. The project ultimately will help in estimating the exact
reason for the reduction in the sparrow population. The program so far has
received around 7461 contributions from 4701 people at 6019 locations in India.The discussion,
moderated by Ravi Aggarwal, Director, Toxic Links, also had a film screening.
Directed by NutanManmohan, the film Beyond the Mirage shows the battle over
food and habitat among the small and big birds that throng Delhi. It documents
the predicament of smaller birds like sparrows, which are fast loosing this war
against their big brethren.These birds, being an indicator of environmental
health, need to be saved before they can be seen only in books or on the
internet.In Mumbai:The friendly chirp
on the window sill will soon be a sight for sore eyes in Mumbai, as the
innocuous sparrow is being wiped out from the urban jungle. ‘A sparrow is to
the city what a tiger is to the forest’ can best sum up today’s situation,
signifying how sparrows are the bio-indicators of an urban environment, much
like the tiger whose decline indicates a threat to the ecosystem.Here are 10
reasons why Mumbaikars need to save the sparrow:1. Falling of treesIt is common
knowledge that more the number of trees, more the number of birds. The spike in
the felling of trees in Mumbai is a major reason why sparrows and other birds
are facing a loss of habitat. But wait, sparrows nest in buildings too, right?
They do, indeed, but are sadly facing a double whammy.2. Lack of
cavity nestingThe ubiquitous
glass buildings of Mumbai—the corporate dens—have replaced many older
structures that were built with a façade that had nooks and crannies, even
bricked roofs, which allow sparrows to nest. Cavities are important for birds
like sparrows, mynahs, parakeets, etc. to make nests. This is one of the
reasons why South Mumbai sees a comparatively larger sparrow population due to
heritage and older buildings being preserved to date.3. Absence
of native plantsNative plants such
as adulsa, mehndi and many others are outdone by fancy non-native ones like
Duranta Erecta, Dumb Cane and others as the trend of modern landscaping catches
on. Native plants are the natural habitats of sparrows, providing them insects
such as aphids to feed on. Sparrows need a diet of insects in their formative
years to grow into healthy adults.4. Absence
of hedgerowsContemporary
landscaping is also doing away with hedges, which are preferred by sparrows for
nesting. Thick hedgerows are known to protect nesting birds such as the sparrow
from predation.5.
Widespread use of concreteSparrows are known
to take two types of bath—one with water and one with dust. With the extensive
use of concrete in Mumbai, the species is unable to take dust baths.6. Modern
grocery storageSpeaking of food,
sparrows are known to feed on tiny grains like bajra, which were earlier freely
available from pecking at gunny bags stored outside older-style grocery stores
and even the grains spilled on the ground. Modern grocery stores with
air-conditioning and plastic packaging take away any chance of finding food
grains to feed on.7.
Chemical fertilizers in agricultural produceHeavy use of
chemical fertilizers leads to agricultural produce being laced by them, hence
ruining the food of sparrows.8. Cell
phone radiationThe
electromagnetic fields and radiation created by mobile towers are known to
affect sparrows, simultaneously indicating that the radiation is also harmful
to humans. The effects range from damage to the immune and nervous system of
sparrows to interference with their navigating sensors.9. High
litter index in MumbaiThere is a rise in
the population of crows and stray cats due to the high litter index in Mumbai.
Simply put, more the garbage, more the predators that prey on sparrows.10.
SuperstitionsLast but not
least, humans with their firm belief in superstitions are known to consume sparrows,
as some believe the male species to be an aphrodisiac.WHAT OTHERS HAVE DONE?·        
In 2012, the
Chief Minister, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, declared the house sparrow the state bird
of Delhi. Addressing school children at her residence during a function
organized to celebrate Wildlife Week, Ms. Dikshit said that the idea behind
making the house sparrow the State bird was to protect it.·        
Students from
Women’s College, Patna, distributed handbills to the public & scattered
millets for sparrows.·        
People in
Bristol recorded house sparrow sightings & blogged about it.·        
The
NFS in association with the Burhani Foundation (India) started ‘SOS’ (Save Our
Sparrow), an initiative in which they distributed 52,000 bird feeders across
the world on a non-profit basis.·        
The
Indian Postal Department released a stamp of the house sparrow along with the
rock pigeon on March 20, 2010.·        
State Bank of
India in all its branches initiated distribution of  feeders for sparrows.WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SAVE SPARROWS OR WHAT IS THE
IMPORTANCE OF SPARROWS?1.     
Ecological balance:Every animal & plant in this world has its significance. The
sparrow is a member of many food chain & food web. So as you know if you
harm any food chain it will affect complete food web. So if you will not save
sparrow it will disturb ecological balance.2.     
Pollination in many plants:Sparrow helps in pollination in many plants. Pollination is a
process by which the pollen grain of one flower reaches to stigma of other
flower in sexual reproduction. So, sparrow helps in the production of new
plants.3.     
Reduce many diseases:Sparrow eats larvae of many insects & mosquitoes which causes
many diseases like malaria, dengue etc. So sparrows protect us from many
diseases which are life threatened.4.     
Brings prosperity:Sparrows bring prosperity for us. We like to watch this small
& lovable bird. Our children always want to watch & hear its chirping
which entertains them lot. REASONS OF DECLINING
SPARROWS:The number of sparrows is declining.
Some important reasons of declining  are
follows:Loss of
habitat due to Architectural changes: The traditional architecture allowed sparrows to make their
nests in a holes, roofs, crevices of old houses .But modern architecture which
introduced box – styled flats have no provision for sparrows to nest and lay
eggs. Lack of
food (Groceries to supermarkets) Few years back, grains were sold in grocery stores. The grains
spilt from gunny bags were a major source of feeding omnivorous birds like
sparrows. The grains were dried in huge quantities out in the open, which gave
the birds their share of the introduction of grains. But now the scenario is
different because of Food Bazar and packaged food. Electromagnetic
radiations (Mobile radiations): The scientists who are trying to unravel the cause of Sparrow’s
disappearance have identified a new culprit: the mobile phone. Studies have
warned about the effects of these mobile radiations on reproduction and
fertility of eggs. Animals navigate by the Earth’s magnetic fields and these
waves can disturb a bird’s ability to find their way around. Unleaded
Petrol & Insecticides: The extensive use of pesticides and
insecticides in our farms and gardens has created a scarcity of insects. The
unleaded fuel, believed to be eco-friendly, has harmful byproducts. The fuel
uses Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE) as an anti-knocking agent. By mixing
with the byproducts of combustion, this kills small insects. Though adult
sparrows can survive without insects being a part of diet, they need these to
feed their young ones, and hence, the infant mortality rate of sparrows has
gone up. Modern Agriculture: Modern agriculture is also a important reason
of decline the numbers of sparrows. In modern agriculture insecticide and
pesticides are widely used which adversely affect the birds directly and
indirectly. When sparrows eat this types of fruits this affects in the
formation of egg’s shell. The numbers of insects decrease due to insecticides
whose larvae are food of sparrows.
Pollution: Pollution is the most important reasons of
declining the numbers of sparrows. Different types of pollution like water
pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, etc adversely affect sparrows.Loss of tree cover: The deforestation is also a reason of decline
of sparrow’s population. We are constructing modern buildings, malls, big
bazaar, industries etc by destroying forest and plants. Urbanization and Unplanned development: Urbanization and unplanned development are also
the most important causes of decline of sparrow’s population.Pigeons,
crows & other big bird’s population: Religious
beliefs encourage feeding of a particular species of birds and therefore, the
birds like crows and pigeons have outnumbered small birds. These birds
dominantly occupy the feeding and nesting sites. SAVE
THE SPARROW PROJECT  

The man behind the
World House Sparrow Day:The man who started the initiative is environmentalist Mohd.
Dilwar who wants to conserve the species as well as to create awareness among
people. Dilawar believes that we should not only be concerned about the
threatened or endangered species but the more commonly seen species like the
sparrow that are often neglected when conservation efforts are planned.He says, “The rationale of having this day is not simply to
celebrate the event for a single day, but to use it to bring together all the
individuals & organizations working for conservation of sparrows &
urban biodiversity on a common platform. We aim to build a network which can
result in better linkages of like-minded people. In the long-term, it’s an
effective way to carry out advocacy, do collaborative research and form
national & international linkages”. World Sparrow Day,
celebrated on March 20 annually, is an initiative of the Nature Forever
Society. In less than four years, this popular event has been celebrated in
more than 50 countries around the world; including in Europe and parts of South
Asia. World Sparrow Day is not only about house sparrows. It includes all 26
species of sparrows found in the world. The NFS had many events lined up for
the global awareness day like as:·        
Exclusive photographs
& information on about 26 species of sparrows on its website·        
Photography Workshop ·        
Common bird watching
trips·        
Public discussions·        
Presentations ·        
Exhibitions ·        
Bird rallies ·        
Educational &
Public eventsSUGGESTIONS:WHAT
WE CAN DO?It is our
duty to save this small, lovable, beautiful& harmless bird for environment
& for ourselves.Don’t do bigger things. Only by doing smaller things you
can give your support to save this bird & our environment.  1.      Adopt a nest box (surrogate cavity) and a feeder with the
right kind of grain in it, to encourage sparrows to feed. This way, you’d
provide them with a constant source of food.2.       Plant native species
of plants to help build a sparrow-friendly habitat and to espouse insect
population.3.       Set up a water bath,
especially in summer, to allow the birds to drink and bathe.4.      Prevent Bird Collisions with Your
Windows:  Collisions are one of the most frequent
causes of bird deaths. Birds see nature reflected in the window or mistake
houseplants inside the building for outdoor plants and fly into the glass.
Putting up curtains or window decals helps make the window visible to birds.5.       Protect Birds From Pets: Unleashed dogs and outdoor cats can harm birds by disturbing, chasing,
and even killing them. Keeping your cat indoors and your dog from straying
saves millions of birds each year.    6.       Clean your Bird Feeders: Dirty feeders can spread disease. Disinfect and clean out old seed from
feeders frequently and put fresh water in your bird bath every day.7.      Use Cloth Grocery Bags and Reusable Bottles: Birds that mistakenly eat plastic trash can become ill or even die.
Avoiding plastic bags and bottles reduces plastic pollution and conserves
resources.8.      Restore Natural Habitat in Your
Community:  Birds need a place to live and many bird
habitats are disappearing. City parks and open spaces are natural places for
birds.  Work with your community to recreate the habitat that once existed
in your area.9.      Keep Your Distance: Birds need space for feeding, nesting, and other daily activities.
Approaching too closely may cause them to become nervous and deplete
much-needed energy reserves.  During the nesting season, it may even
result in loss of eggs or young to predators.10.  Teach Others About Birds:  Talk to your friends about birds and start a club in your community to
teach people about the challenges birds face. The more people know, the more
they can do to help.11.  Support Conservation:  Join a bird club or other conservation organization to learn more and
contribute to protecting birds. Volunteer with organizations that preserve
habitat and help birds. Spread the
word and encourage friends and family to save the sparrow. For more
information, visit www.natureforever.org12.   Be a Citizen Scientist: Many projects need helpers to gather data on birds and their habitat.
Contact your local Nature Center, library or conservation organization to
volunteer.13.  Reduce Energy Use:  Riding your bike or walking reduces your carbon footprint and prevents
pollution of bird habitats. Switching off the lights in your house not only
shrinks your energy bill, but can also help prevent birds from colliding with
your windows. 14.  Avoid Chemicals: Birds may accidentally eat pesticide and herbicide pellets or prey that
have been poisoned.  This can kill a bird or have toxic effects on their
own health and that of their growing embryos, including deformation or
suppressed immune systems.REFERENCES:www.natureforever.orgwww.sparrowshelter.org

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