Flora and FaunaWildlife


Meera Bhardwaj:

Have you ever wondered why the house sparrows are disappearing from cities? Well, one group – the Sparrow Conservation Foundation, Belagavi led by N Prabhakar Sangamesh, ACF, Gadag sub-division has taken the lead in not only saving this species but are also holding relentless campaigns in government schools, students’ hostels, institutions, and other places to protect this bioindicator species.

One more World Sparrow Day has come and gone but the disappearing sparrow numbers is a big cause for concern. With house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations rapidly declining, it has been added to the Red List of Endangered Species of IUCN. However, many individuals and groups are making concerted efforts to conserve this bioindicator species.

It all began in 2016 when Sangamesh started making this effort in Belagavi city disturbed by the disappearance of this species from urban spaces. He turned his house into a haven for sparrows by installing nests and bird baths which in fact, turned into a movement to save this species. Between 2017-18, more than 500 mud pots were distributed to people to provide shelter to the sparrows.

Speaking to Green Minute, Sangamesh said, “Even today, I always carry nests wherever I go and distribute it to people whenever possible. I started in 2016, and now got together with like minded people to save this species. We have provided bird nests and installed them in public places be it schools, gardens, institutions, etc. We have carried awareness campaigns especially in government schools, hostels as it is important to make children aware about sparrow conservation right from the beginning.”

The Sparrow Conservation Foundation consists of about 40-50 members who are dedicated to its protection and conservation and carried many campaigns and projects in Belagavi, Vijayapura, Gadag and Dharwad in Karnataka. They not only distribute bird baths and bird nests but personally go to install it to encourage people.

Presently, sparrow houses are being made using bamboo that is easy and cheap. Last year, they were made with plywood and before that PVC pipe was used. But using bamboo has proved to be fruitful as it benefits the farmers, it is eco-friendly and regulates the temperature.

Plywood houses were found to be expensive and took lot of time to build it. The usage of bamboo has benefited the farmers while Narayan, a bamboo artist from Gadag has made the sparrow houses based on our designs and needs.

The ACF said, “We have received a lot of encouragement and support from Karnataka Forest department and senior officers to build awareness in the minds of people about sparrow conservation. “

He adds, “My family members too have pitched in their support while my daughter Pratiksha Prerna has composed and sung a song on sparrow conservation.”

Apart from this, the Sparrow Conservation foundation has a Monsoon Team who are involved in planting Ficus in and around available public spaces and the saplings planted include Arali, Atti, Basari, Goni and Ala species.

The Foundation team selects public gardens, grasslands (gomala), forest areas, etc to plant these species while Jamun and other flowering seeds too are collected and planted in many urban spaces.

The foundation has attracted good response from individuals and institutions in taking forward the movement to save house sparrows. On March 23-24, they are holding a sparrow awareness campaign at Karnataka State Rural Development and Panchayat Raj University, Gadag.

The team members include – Manjunath (additional commissioner, GST), Prashanth PKM, IFS, Sandeep, SP (Excise), Mahantesh P (district registrar),  Prof Prakash Sonwalkar, Chandrashekar Patil, ACF, Rafiq N L, AC, Legal Metrology, Dilip Hegde, Wasim, ACF, Jamkandi, Prof Sanjay Deshpande, Mahantesh Vijayapura, Gopinath, Mysuru, Prof Jagadish, Mysuru, Ajjappa Sogalad, district social welfare officer, Raju Nayak, Pavan Kulkarni, Banashankari, Sallauddini, Purushottam G,  Sangamesh Padnad, (assistant general manager Canara Bank), Bharat Talwar, DSP, Ravi Bhairawadagi, Dr Satish Chogala, Manjunath Alwani, Kadolkar Srinath, RFO, Sinnur, CPI, Jayakumar, CPI, Sangamesh Savadatti Math, Romel, and Bhimagol, RFO.

Every Year, World Sparrow Day is celebrated on March 20th and the theme of this year is “love sparrow.”

Sparrows are social birds and are found in groups. The bird’s height is 16cms, length about 21cms, weight 25-40 grams and their average life expectancy is around 4-5 years. This species flies about 20-24 miles per hour and is found all over world except Antarctica and Japan.

As per research studies, the last few decades, sparrows have been disappearing due to heavy use of pesticides, weedicides, drastic change in house architecture and installation of many mobile towers and industries etc.

The Sparrow Conservation Foundation advocates how one can help to increase the sparrow numbers by keeping artificial sparrow nests that are made from bamboo, plywood, coir, and cardboards. They also tell people to keep bird baths everywhere, plant trees and hedges and finally their goal is to create awareness among the younger generation to preserve every species on earth as each one of them has a definite role to play.

(Contact of Sangamesh, ACF, Gadag sub-division: 88844 44172)