Sparrows are small, chubby brown-grey birds with short tails and short & blunt yet powerful beaks. They eat seeds but can also eat insects. They are (soon may go as ‘were’) found in Europe, Asia and Africa.
WE NEED TO ACT:
The population of sparrows has been declining, as there is less food for them, because of fewer gardens.
They are now on the threatened birds’ list in many parts of the world. There are so many campaigns started to save sparrows, we share few samples for you below (not sure about activeness of the campaigns now, hope they are active).
Just sharing for awareness we are sharing the article published in The HINDU as well for reference. Everyone are doing something, we too do something for these sparrows.
Here is the article released in The HINDU, March 11, 2013 (Courtesy THE HINDU)
The common house sparrow is one of the most ubiquitous birds around us and is one of the more familiar winged companions of human beings. It has, over a period of time, evolved with us.
At one time a very common sight, in the past few years, this bird has been on the decline over much of its natural range, both in the urban and rural habitats. The decline of the house sparrow is an indicator of the continuous degradation of the environment.
The house sparrow is, in a sense, an ambassador to the common bird species. The hope is that the conservation of the house sparrow and its habitat will in turn help save much of the common biodiversity, which shares the habitat of the house sparrows.
World Sparrow Day is celebrated on March 20. The rationale for celebrating World Sparrow Day is not only to commemorate the event for a day, but also to use it as a platform to highlight the need to conserve sparrows as well as urban biodiversity. The event aims to bring together individuals, national and international groups. The aim is also to attract the attention of government agencies and the scientific community to take notice of the need for the conservation of the common bird species and urban biodiversity.
Scientists first started to notice a decline in the number of the house sparrow in the 1990s. Over the last few years several campaigns, outreach and awareness programmes, research surveys have been carried out to understand the decline of a species that had learned to exist in and around human habitations and was found in huge numbers in urban areas.
World wide, countries have participated in various activities to celebrate the World House Sparrow Day. Citizen Sparrow is an ongoing citizen science project in India in which members of the public are encouraged to contribute information on presence and absence of the house sparrow from different locations and for different time periods. This information is to be uploaded on their website (www.citizensparrow.in/). All the observational records are plotted on a map. This can be done by an individual or a school group or an NGO and even corporate companies as a part of their corporate social responsibility.
What others have done
Students from Women’s College, Patna, distributed handbills to the public and scattered millets for sparrows.
People in Bristol recorded house sparrow sightings and blogged about it.
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 organised to celebrate Wildlife Week, Ms. Dikshit said that the idea behind making the house sparrow the State bird was to protect it.
The Nature Forever Society 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.
What you can do
Put bird boxes and bird feeders outside your house or in your gardens.
Water-bowls or a bird-bath in the hot summer afternoon helps birds to re-hydrate.
Grow plants and hedges that are native to the place. This encourages some of the common birds to come back.
At Madras Crocodile Bank Trust
Outreach Programmes in schools and at the Croc Bank.
Common Bird Monitoring Programme: Nature Forever Society has initiated a common bird monitoring programme to conserve India’s common birds.
Talks will be done on weekends for the visitors that come to MCBT to create awareness about the sparrow.
A questionnaire survey that involves interviewing citizens about house sparrows to document the current population of this once common bird in their gardens and backyards.
Facts about Sparrows
Sparrows are social birds, nesting closely to one another and flying and feeding in small flocks.
They live in nests, nests are located under roofs, bridges, in three hollows etc.
Sparrows can swim to escape from predators, although not a water bird.
Male sparrow has reddish back and black bib, female sparrow has brown back with eyestripe.
Their diet consists of seeds, small invertebrates, crumbs etc.
Sparrows are loosely monogamous. Both the female and the male take care of the young ones, though the female does most of the brooding.
These birds are aggressive and social, which increases their ability to compete with most native birds.
They can swim to escape from predators, although they are not considered to be water birds.
The difference between a male and a female sparrow is that the former has a reddish back and a black bib, whereas the female has brown back with eye stripe.
Sparrow nests are bulky, roofed affairs. They are haphazardly built and without good workmanship, unlike what is displayed by other weaver finches.
The nest building is initiated by an unmated male, who begins the construction while displaying it to the females. The females do assist in nest building, but are less active than the male.
In cool season, sparrows build specially created roost nests or roost in streetlights, to avoid losing heat during the winter.
Sparrows are generally not territorial, but they are quite aggressive when it comes to protecting their nest from intruders of the same sex.
They prefer to live near human dwellings, especially if there are bird feeders. They are generally found in farming areas, cities and suburbs.
Sparrows are around 14-16 cm long. They are chirpy, with grey and brown color. They have the ability to fly at the speed of 38.5 km/hour and can even reach a speed of 50 km/hour.
These birds usually nest in cavities, but some may nest in bushes and trees as well. They build untidy nests of grass and assorted rubbish, including wool, feathers and fine vegetative material.
Manmade environments have always been a source of food and shelter for sparrows. They usually nest under the eaves of homes and in holes in the walls of buildings or in climbing plants that grow on walls.
Sparrows raise three nests of 3-5 eggs. Both male and female helps to incubate the eggs for 12-15 days. The fledglings usually fly out after 15 days.
Species: P. domesticus
Group Name: Flock
Length: 10-20 cm
Weight: 24-39.5 grams
Lifespan: 4-5 years
Diet: Seed and insects
Habitat: Human-altered habitat, like farm areas. Not found in dense forest and desert environment.
Gestation Period: 10-15 days
Number of Offspring: 5-8 eggs
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