Save The Sparrow
Kriti Bansal, Noida
Try recalling the last time you heard a sparrow tweet in your home. Buildings no longer have those nooks and crannies where little birds could nest. Faced with an acute shortage of housing and food, the homely sparrow is vanishing into the blue.But it isn’t hard to bring sparrows back into our lives. Raakesh Khatri, director of Nature Foundation, is teaching students and teachers how to create a congenial atmosphere for the little bird by building nests and protecting trees.
Sparrows raise their families between January and October. They make nests with grass, twigs and junk. But trees are scarce and sparrows can’t balance their nests on flat windows. So, their eggs and babies fall down and die.
“This is the reason I ask my students not to plant a tree but to adopt one and look after it. That will help birds make their own house and lay their eggs in a proper shelter till the young one is hatched,” explains Khatri.
Nature Foundation has installed around 2,000 birdhouses in the Delhi-Noida region. It is easy to build one, explains Khatri. Just take half a coconut shell and make a bed of newspapers at the bottom. Then put some fevicol around the shell. Now paste dry grass and leaves on it. Cover the outer shell with twine, use rope to make a holder and hang it on a tree. You can place a twig at the edge of the shell so that the bird can study the newly built home before deciding to move in.
“The house sparrow needs just a small nest. They find these coconut houses with shredded leaves and hay very attractive,” says Khatri. Next to the birdhouse make a little bird-bath and place a bowl of bajra or any other grain.
Khatri is conducting seminars in schools with students from Class 6 to Class 10 informing them about the plight of the little brown bird.
“I found I could not even name one bird in my locality when Raakesh sir asked me. We confuse the parakeet with the parrot. Nature Foundation has made me love birds. I can now easily identify eight or nine birds like the House Sparrow, Laughing Dove, Indian Myna etc,” says Ranica, a student.
Teachers too call on Nature Foundation to understand birds better. Says Darshan Sodhi, Environmental Coordinator, Delhi Public School (DPS), Noida, “Looking around DPS I see so many birds in the nests made by us. Students are happy to make them. They carry the nest back home, pin it up there and then wait for the birds to come.”
“With the help of this nesting activity, we have noticed a remarkable increase in the population of house sparrows in localities like Mayur Vihar Phase-3,” says Animesh Kapoor a wildlife photographer and a volunteer with Nature Foundation.
One upshot of Nature Foundation’s efforts is that students now feel an emotional connect with birds. “Sparrows are my little friends. I have my doors and windows open for you, friends, come and stay on my windowsill as long as you want,” says Abhinav Saxena, a volunteer with Nature Foundation.
In honour of the sparrow Nature Foundation is launching a book titled, “House Sparrow: Grace of the Sky.” There will be a similar book available in Hindi.