Environmental education centering around on various issues often begins in schools encouraging the students to understand and create associations with their direct environs. The understanding, awareness, and skills needed for the conservation of House Sparrows, provide a base for moving out into larger systems, broader issues, and a more sophisticated comprehension of causes, connections, and consequences. Recent fast changing human life style have severely affected the nesting sites and food availability for the House Sparrows. This is a serious issue that needs awareness so that we do not lose our little friend as we lost Dodo and other species.
On the occasion of “WORLD SPARROW DAY”, an Oral Presentation entitled “The House Sparrows: Concerns and Conservation” was given in Himalayan Progressive School (HPS), Kichha-Uttra Khand. The presentation was given by Dr. Sonika Kushwaha from Indian Biodiversity Conservation Society, Jhansi. The presentation is summarized as below: The little chirruping House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus) is one of the commonest
birds that every Indian comes across. It has been a childhood friend, nesting and singing around humans. As the name ‘House Sparrow” suggests, its habitat are human dwellings with small crevices for nesting. But due to recent fast changing human life style have severely affected the nesting sites and food availability for the House Sparrows. This is a serious issue that needs awareness so that we do not lose our little friend as we lost Dodo and other species. There are 26 species of sparrow all over the World while India has 5 species of sparrows which includes migratory and residential species: Migratory species: Passer hispaniolensis (Spanish Sparrow); Residential Species: Passer pyrrhonotus (Sind Sparrow), Passer rutilans (Russet Sparrow), Passer montanus (Eurasian Tree Sparrow) and Passer domesticus (House Sparrow). Before the implementation of conservational strategies it is of vital importance to know about the behavior, status as well the threats of the species concerned. The conservational measures are fruitful when planned according to the behavior of the House Sparrows. House sparrow is a gregarious bird. Dust bathing is a very important behavior of House sparrow. Until and unless the status and threats are known, the conservation plans cannot be undertaken. A number of hypotheses have been put forward as possible causes of the decline of House Sparrows in Rural, urban and suburban habitats. These include lack of nest sites, depleting food resources for adult house sparrows and chicks, lack of safe roosting sites, urban sprawling, change in human life style, competition with other birds, change in agricultural practices, predation, use of insecticides/pesticides, public intolerance, people misconception, lack of public knowledge. Strategies and efforts for their conservation are being implemented throughout the country so as to put a halt to the dwindling population before urbanization leads them to the category of Critically Endangered. Artificial Nest boxes have proved extremely valuable for the house sparrows because they provide alternative safe nesting sites to them. We are doing remarkable efforts for sparrow conservation through Research work, supplementary feed and artificial nest Boxes, Sparrow Census, Awareness Programmes and workshops in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Students are involved through various events during Wildlife Week and World Sparrow Day. Besides various competitions for students, the volunteers spot the Sparrows in the aforesaid areas and create awareness by distributing flyers, pamphlets,posters and calendar on sparrows to the local people. The workshops bring together all the local people. Awareness has been also created through social media and press media. Therefore, by adopting these initiatives we can easily bring back the house sparrows in our lives, so that our further generation can also enjoy the pleasure of watching these small and chirping lives in our homes. There is still time to start their conservation and maintain their population in all the landscapes. Sparrows can be conserved by every individual with little efforts.
In continuation, a workshop was also conducted on preparation of artificial nest boxes for House Sparrows The material could be cardboard, wood or earthen pots. No metallic items were to be used. The entrance hole had to be between 3.0-3.2 cm. The nest box had to be prepared as well as installed. Selection of safe location for installation was important so that it could not be approached by predators. It had to be under shade, away from predators, supported by wall, at an average height, tied properly so that it didn’t swayed by wind.
1. Short presentation on Preparation and installation of Artificial House Sparrow nest boxes (Resource Person: Dr.Sonika Kushwaha ) -Need and importance of Artificial House Sparrow nest boxes -Preparation according to scientific measurements -Installation: dos and don’ts
2. Requirements for nest box preparation included Shoe boxes or any other cardboard box or Earthen pots (small) and stationary like Brown tape for shoe box/cardboard box, Scissors, Cutter, Marker and White fabric colour brush for earthen pots
The workshops and activities brought together all the students, teachers and volunteers. Therefore, by adopting these initiatives we can easily bring back the house sparrows in our lives, so that our further generation can also enjoy the pleasure of watching these small and chirping lives in our homes. There is still time to start their conservation and maintain their population in all the landscapes. Sparrows can be conserved by every individual with little efforts.
Submitted by : Dr. Sonika Kushwaha
Indian Biodiversity Conservation Society, Jhansi-U.P.