WORLD SPARROW DAY
The theme for WORLD SPARROW DAY is I LOVE Sparrows. The diminutive house sparrow (Passer domesticus) 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. A leading newspaper in the United Kingdom - a country that has witnessed one of the biggest declines of the house sparrow population in recent times - declared a cash prize to anyone who could solve the mystery. Needless to add, the reward lies unclaimed. The house sparrow is believed to be declining for various reasons ranging from the destruction of its habitat to lack of insect food for the young and even the increasing microwave pollution from mobile phone towers. (Please read “reasons of house sparrow decline” for more information). The theme for WORLD SPARROW DAY is I LOVE Sparrows. The theme has been inspired by the hope that more and more of us will celebrate the relationship between PEOPLE AND SPARROWS. After all, we’ve lived in close harmony with these adorable little birds for 10,000 years. So, the main aim of the theme is to highlight the love that people have for sparrows and the seemingly small things that they do to make a big difference to sparrows. Through this year’s theme, we aim to highlight how citizens from different walks of life are making amazing differences and expressing their love for sparrows by telling the world the ways in which they are helping conserve sparrows. The theme is centered around People and Sparrows because both are an integral part of a relationship that celebrates thousands of years of togetherness. In our busy lives, we have lost that bond with sparrows in particular and with nature, in general. Through this theme, we want to bring some amazing people into the limelight, people who are not only helping in conserving sparrows but are also spreading love for sparrows, awareness about their importance in our lives and tips on their conservation. Looking at them, we hope others will be inspired and join the conservation movement to save sparrows by doing small things that have major functional conservation values. Loving is doing. Warming up to sparrows is not just about looking at them and admiring them. It’s about doing something for them that will help them fight contemporary challenges to their existence. Sparrows need us for their survival in this ever-growing concrete jungle and we need them for our ecological system to be balanced and indeed, for our very own existence.