By-Marianne de Nazareth

World Sparrow Day is observed worldwide on March 20 to raise awareness on the threats to the little chirpy bird’s population. Photo:S. Harpal Singh, M. Karunakaran

BangaloreMarch 15th:

Across the world, March 20 is celebrated as World Sparrow Day (WSD). Who would have thought that we would need a day to focus on how this most familiar of birds is suddenly vanishing? There is an inherent paradox in how this everyday companion of man, the commonest and most adaptable bird is vanishing from our midst.

Thankfully sparrows can still be found on the outskirts or in the older parts of Bangalore.

If you want to see the little guys in town, go to the narrow by-lanes where the small shops still sell grain from sacks, or head to the airport. Sandeep Menon, a sparrow lover is happy to see them in large numbers in the airport. Apart from these places, the cheeky little sparrow (Passer domesticus) that was all over town in the early part of the century seems to be lost to us. “Sparrows were always part of our culture,” says Joshua C.D. “When I was growing up, they were all around. I wish they return.” Initially there was talk of mobile phone towers being the cause of their mysterious disappearance. Deepa Mohan, an avid birder refutes this saying, “There are house sparrows in areas such as KR Market and Ulsoor, where there is plenty of grain. There are also undisturbed nesting places which debunks the theory of mobile towers affecting these birds.”

Most of us Bangaloreans have stories like dentist Valerie Anthra Pereira. “I found an abandoned baby sparrow when I was in school and took it home. It grew quite tame under my care, and had a penchant for green grapes.”

Mohammed Dilawar, President of Nature Forever Society says he wants to take WSD to grass-root level and get not only the conservation organizations, but also house wives and office goers involved in celebrating it. “It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organizations across the world.  The World Sparrow Day secretariat is requesting people from across the world to register their event on,” he says.

Source: The Hindu