20 March: World Sparrow Day

Date: March 21, 2016

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The World Sparrow Day designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations, observed on 20 March.

It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.

The sparrow, especially the common house sparrow, is one of the most ubiquitous birds on earth and is also one of the oldest companions of human beings.

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It has, over a period of time, evolved with us. Fortunately, they are still found in abundance in many parts of the world. The rationale for celebrating World Sparrow Day is not only to commemorate the event for a day but to use it as a platform to underscore the need to conserve sparrows as well as the urban biodiversity.

What you can do for the conservation of sparrows?

1. Put bird boxes and bird feeders outside your house or in your gardens.

2. Water-bowls or a bird-bath in the hot summer afternoon helps sparrows to re-hydrate.

3. Grow plants and hedges that are native to the place. This encourages sparrows to come back.

The house sparrow is perhaps one of the earliest birds you can remember from your childhood. Their nests dotted almost every house in the neighbourhood as well as public places like bus bays and railway stations, where they lived in colonies and survived on food grains and tiny worms. Many bird watchers and ornithologists recall with fondness how the house sparrow gave flight to their passion for observing birds.

The association between humans and the house sparrow dates back to several centuries and no other bird has been associated with humans on a daily basis like the house sparrow. It is a bird that evokes fond memories and has thus found mention in folklore and songs from time immemorial. Unfortunately, the house sparrow is now a disappearing species.

But like all other plants and animals which were once abundant and are now facing an uncertain future, their numbers are also declining across their natural range. The reasons? Certainly, there is no one single reason for the decline of house sparrow.

Its slow but noticeable disappearance has been labeled as one of the biggest mysteries of recent times.