Thanks to an innovative conservation idea, promoted by a group of youngsters in Ghaziabad, sparrows can chirp their way in and out of houses, without getting caught in the web of our modern lives.
'In my childhood I have seen birds making nests on electric cables, electric metres and in nooks and corners of the house. This prompted me to come up with an idea of providing them a safe place to nest in the houses,' said Ruchin Mehra, a social activist and engineer at Bharat Electronics Ltd. He made three cubical wooden boxes – of six inches diameter – and installed them in his house. After some time, a home sparrow came and nested in one of the boxes, which was later followed by others.
'I have also made arrangements for water and scattered some grains in the park for them. These simple measures have seen an increase in their population,' added Mehra.
He has also distributed these boxes to other bird lovers in the vicinity and the campaign is gaining momentum. Around dozen people in Ghaziabad are now using these boxes to attract home sparrows.
'I had installed the box last November but no sparrow came. Just as I was thinking of giving up, a week ago, a female sparrow came here for the first time. Two days ago, she was joined by her mate. Now, we really enjoy making these boxes,' said Ankit Garg, a jewellery designer in Lohia Nagar in Ghaziabad. 'I have ordered one dozen wooden boxes from a carpenter, which I will distribute among my friends,' added Garg who is an advocate by profession.
Home sparrows used to nest in the houses, abandoned buildings and bushes and are friendly towards humans. But the design of modern house leaves no space for sparrows to make nests. The shrinking natural habitat of these birds have resulted in a fall in their population.
'Children in the neighbourhood are very enthused about these birds and play with them. They like their songs in the morning and eagerly wait for them in the evening,' added Sahu. The decreasing number of home sparrows, due to changing form of house, flats and destruction of their natural habitats has been a concern for bird conservators.
Sudeep Sahu, an advocate by profession, has also installed one box in his house. 'I feel proud that I can enjoy having birds in my house. They are absolutely free to roam anywhere they wish but I have provided them space, grains and water, which attracts them to my house again and again,' said Sahu.