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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1589

March 20 to be celebrated as World House Sparrow Day

From Gopal Ethiraj - Chennai
Chennai, 18 March (

March 20, 2010 will be observed as World House Sparrow Day (WHSD) to focus on raising awareness about the decline of the common House Sparrow and to throw light on the problems faced by the House Sparrow in its daily fight for survival.

The World House Sparrow Day (WHSD) is an international initiative by Nature Forever Society in collaboration with Bombay Natural History Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (USA), Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France), Avon Wildlife Trust (UK) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world.

In India, Mohammed Dilawar of India's Nature Forever Society, is heading the World Sparrow Day. He is also working for the return of the winged beauty back everywhere.

Mohammed Dilawar, an award-winning, Nashik-based former lecturer of environmental studies, said: "We've noticed a rapid decline in house sparrows in India. Some places used to be home to hundreds of them but they're rapidly disappearing." Scientists first started to notice a decline in the number of House Sparrows in the 1990s.

The theme for WHSD 2010 is, “We will save our House Sparrows. We invite all national organisations, NGOs, clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals across the world to highlight WHSD 2010 by organizing awareness-raising programs, festivals or other related events on this year's topic during the weekend of 20 March 2010,” Dilawar said.

The UK celebrations for the first World House Sparrow Day on 20 March will be lead by Avon Wildlife Trust. The Bristol-based charity will be working longside organisations from as faraway as India, Kenya and Hong Kong.

The trust is asking people to report their House Sparrow sightings, so they can build up a picture of where the bird is surviving in the region.

The House Sparrow (passer domesticus) is a species of passerine bird in the sparrow family Passeridae. In India, it is popularly known as goraiya in the Hindi speaking districts. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala it is known as kuruvi and also known as chittu kuruvi.

In Telugu it is known as the pichhuka, and in Kannada, gubbachchi. The Gujaratis call it chakli whereas the Maharashtrians call it chimani. It is known as chiri in Punjab, chaer in Jammu and Kashmir, Charai Pakhi in West Bengal, and gharachatia in Orissa. In Urdu it is called chirya while in Sindhi, it is known as jhirki.

Many reasons are attributed for their apparent “disappearance”: The introduction of unleaded petrol is one, as the combustion of which produces compounds methyl nitrite, which is highly toxic for small insects that forms a part of a chick's diet.

Old houses had eaves and tiles that were comfortable perches to build nests on. External wirings and framed pictures too were “habitats”. But sleek modern concrete structures no longer have these and so “feathered neighbours” lost their habitats.

Mushrooming supermarket culture in urban areas, replaced the old fashioned grain shops which offered their spills as feeds. Urbanisation has done away with home gardens, which had worms and insects for the young sparrows. Besides extensive use of pesticides have proved lethal for their survival. The most recent reason for their disappearance is the mobile phone towers, the waves from the tower, it is said, are capable of destroying the life in the eggs.

- Asian Tribune -

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