NEW DELHI: Flying sparrows from the terrace of his house in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk was his hobby but he had little idea that calling them back would become his profession. Rakesh Khatri, an environmentalist who has made it to the Limca Book of World Records is working hard to conserve the state bird of Delhi, the humble sparrow by creating awareness and teaching the art of nest making to children.
“I realised spotting sparrows became difficult in the city as the concretisation grew...Sparrows which were playmates to us became just an image of dirt for the modern household. I began experimenting with green coconuts to make nests for them but failed at first. After much research, I became a professional at it and succeeded in getting the bird a house of its own,” Khatri told The Morning Standard.
Khatri began his career as a professional photographer but ended up switching to bird nest making in 2008. He started making nests with bamboos sticks and wood. With the former chief minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, Khatri along with his son conducted programmes known as ‘Nature Trail’ as a part of eco-clubs in Delhi schools.
Khatri alarmed by the fast-disappearing bird established the Eco Roots Foundation. For his practice of sparrow conservation, Khatri received The International Green Apple Award at the House of Commons in London.
Khatri along with schools, RWAs and corporate houses across India, has set up approximately 59,000 jute based birdhouses and 45,000 wooden ones.