World Sparrow Day 2023: The number of sparrows has started increasing in Delhi, Sheila Dixit’s big role in conservation
World Sparrow Day 2023: There is good news for the environment lovers and bird lovers of the capital Delhi. The number of house sparrows has started increasing. Conservation efforts are working.
oi-Anjan Kumar Chaudhary
World Sparrow Day 2023:
The sparrow had almost disappeared from the capital Delhi about a decade ago. But, the then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit took a far-sighted decision and perhaps this is the reason why sparrows are now seen again in homes in the capital. This situation is also being seen in other NCR cities adjacent to Delhi. Monday is this year’s World Sparrow Day, so it is pertinent to know how successful the steps Sheila Dikshit had taken have been. Not only this, 13 years of World Sparrow Day are also being completed, in this sense it is also necessary to discuss its achievement.
Sparrow homecoming in Delhi
The sparrow, which was once seen around every house, had almost disappeared from the urban areas of the capital Delhi since around 2012. Looking at the circumstances then, the then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit’s government had declared it as the state bird of the state and various measures were being adopted for its protection. Former CM Sheila Dikshit herself was a big bird lover and after 11 years of the campaign started during her tenure, the chirping of sparrows is being heard once again in the capital Delhi.
House sparrow is seen in these areas of Delhi
Though there is no doubt about increasing the number of sparrows in Delhi, but on the eve of World Sparrow Day, experts have said that there is still a long way to go and there are many hurdles to overcome in this modern urban setting. Retired zoologist Surya Prakash of JNU’s School of Life Sciences told news agency PTI, “Sparrow numbers have improved a lot since 2012, especially due to increased public participation and awareness.” However, modern lifestyle and infrastructure do not fit the house sparrow. Hence, it is seen only in Old Delhi, JNU campus and forests.
Urbanization has made the sparrows homeless
Important reasons for the disappearance of sparrows include the disappearance of balconies and windows in buildings, the lack of holes for their nests, the increased use of insecticides that kill insects, and the loss of native plants. According to Surya Prakash, ‘this is also due to the increase in the population of common myons and domestic pigeons, as they have occupied all the sparrow nesting sites and feeding sites.’ The State of India’s Birds 2020 report placed the house sparrow in the ‘Least Concern’ category. The argument was that even though their population has decreased in the big cities, ‘on the whole it is stable.’
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Sparrow cannot live without humans – Expert
Meanwhile, Mohammad Dilawar of Nature Forest Society says that human intervention is necessary for the protection of sparrows. From 2010, he started the tradition of celebrating World Sparrow Day on 20 March. He has said, ‘Sparrows cannot live without humans, their nests and grains depend on humans and their lifestyle. It is also important to understand how all things are connected. The decline in the number of insects is due to the lack of local plants, which are like the first food for sparrow chicks. Dilawar and his organization are spreading awareness about the impact of all this and motivating people to plant native species. At the same time, they are asking not to use pesticides and to arrange nest boxes and grains for them outside their homes.
Population is increasing in ‘Gauraiya Gram’
Similar measures have helped the Bombay Natural History Society and the Delhi government build Gauraiya Gram, which is on the banks of the Yamuna River. The pilot project, which started inside the Garhi Mandu forest in East Delhi, has gathered a large number of house sparrows, who forage in a special ‘insect hotel’. Sohail Madan of the Bombay Natural History Society said, “We have created a safe haven for the sparrows by providing them with the right kind of local plants to eat and nest in. We have also installed artificial nestboxes for the sparrows. Above all, we have prepared insect hotels, which have different types of insects, which play an important role in maintaining a healthy population of sparrows.
The project will start in other areas of Delhi as well.
Local grasses like Jowar, Bajra and Moonj have also been grown by this organization and shrubs like wild Karonda have also been prepared, which create a favorable environment for sparrows. A large number of local people have also been involved in this project. Earlier there was not a single sparrow here, but now there are a lot of them. However, they have not been formally counted. According to Madan, this is a pilot project and if successful, it will be adopted in other forest areas as well. Common residents of Delhi are also engaged in this campaign at their own level and they are also getting success.
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Common people are also contributing
Nini Taneja, a resident of New Friends Colony, installed a nestbox and feeder in her balcony about eight months ago. After being patient for a long time, his dedication worked and when the sparrows started coming, then there was no place for happiness. Taneja, a bird lover as well as a painter, is encouraging others to put up nestboxes and feeders in their balconies. (Photos – File)
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Sparrow population has started increasing in Delhi, Sheila Dixit started the campaign. Awareness has also arisen among people and this bird is reaching homes