Pune: With the World Sparrow Day celebration on March 20, several city-based bird conservationists are calling out to citizens to adopt several conservation methods like building nest-boxes and installing bird-feeders to help preserve sparrows from extinction.
“With an increasing number of buildings that provide a lot of nesting sites to birds such as pigeons, smaller birds like sparrows have nowhere to go. Also our gardens are full of exotic species of plants which have little role to play in the local ecology and are of little use to the birds. There is an urgent need to create awareness and to replace the exotic trees with native species, which can provide shelters and food to the birds,” said Arzan Patel, a conservationist from East Street, who plans to conduct a bird-feeder distribution drive in residential societies at Camp on March 20.
As the number of sparrows in Pune has reduced drastically, conservationists claim that besides concretization, radiation from increasing numbers of mobile towers and cell phones are also proving to be a silent killer of smaller birds.
“People used to dry grains on terraces and open spaces earlier, but they don’t do it anymore and that is depriving the birds of food. If there are cell phone towers in cities and then there is the use of pesticides on food crops in the villages, which is proving harmful to these birds,” stated Dr Satish Pande, an ornithologist.
Like every year, a Great Sparrow Count will also be carried out this year with the assistance of Nashik-based Nature Forever Society (NFS), an organization that works toward sparrow conservation and Bird Count India, an umbrella group of organizations, which will be aimed at counting sparrows in different locations across the country and the world for 3 days from March 18-20. It will be then documented in an e-portal for conservation efforts.
Counting sparrows raises a variety of important questions, including its distribution, how they are affected by changes in habitat and weather, and whether their populations and distributions might be changing year to year.