World Sparrow Day today: Where have all the sparrows gone?

NEW DELHI: March 20 is World Sparrow Day, the day to think about the most ubiquitous yet most vulnerable creature on the earth that is vanishing fast. Will holding placards and marching on streets to create awareness about the bird or holding seminars on how to save it would solve the purpose of saving the bird. Its existence and extinction both show the health of the environment.

Since 2010, March 20 has been designated World Sparrow Day to highlight the decreasing presence of the once common bird.

Once the bird, that used to decorate the courtyard or the front of our houses is not seen around.

There are many reasons ascribed to it. Experts say brown presence has disappeared due to the reduction in urban nesting spaces and the presence of the blue rock pigeon which too is taking over the sparrows’ nesting areas.

Experts also say that growing number of mobile towers and harmful radiations emitting from them damage the growth of their population of the birds.

Experts say the birds act as an ecological indicator and the dwindling numbers signify urban lifestyle changes. “House sparrows have co-existed with humans, but in the last couple of decades they haven’t been able to keep up with architectural and lifestyle changes,” said Sohail Madan, Asola centre manager, Bombay Natural History Society to a publication. “Houses used to be open and there were places for sparrow nests, but these have disappeared. Sparrows are moving to greener areas,” he added.

Another expert said, “Today’s urban constructions are not sparrow-friendly — the bird cannot find resting space and finding food is also difficult because the availability of insects and worms has reduced due to the use of insecticides and pesticides.”