COIMBATORE: After the synchronised elephant census brought good news to wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers would soon get to know the status of the vanishing common house sparrow.
A two-month online survey titled ‘Citizen Sparrow’, commissioned by the Bombay Natural History Society to document the current population and distribution of sparrows and compare the cute birds’ numbers with the past, is set to conclude by the month-end.
“Since the sparrows have intermingled seamlessly with the human population, the lack of sparrows in any place is of particular interest,” says Dr Raju Kasambe, project manager, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS). There is a need to understand the status of the commonest bird and a citizen science programme with mass participation can help collect information on a countrywide scale, he adds. The initiative is to seek information from the public and involve them in the survey.
On the importance of the online survey, Dr Suhel Quader, research fellow at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) says, “The survey would create a vast store of information that would be available to all across the country. It can be taken by anyone who knows anything about house sparrows for a wider range.”
The geographical location is of utmost importance here. This will help in comparing population changes of sparrows at different locales that will subsequently indicate any threat to the population in the said space,” says P Jeganathan, coordinator at the Conservation Education Programme of NCF Rainforest Research Station.
The public involvement approach has other important benefits as well, points out Dr Asad Rahmani, Director of the Bombay Natural History Society. ”
The survey is supported by organisations like Conservation India, Indian Bird Conservation Network, Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History. Interested citizens can log on to http://www.citizensparrow.in and record their observations.