Today is World Sparrow Day!
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 parking lots, 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.
World Sparrow Day is a day designated to raise awareness of the House Sparrow and other birds common to urban environments, and of threats to their populations, and has been observed on 20 March each year since 2010. The population of 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.
World Sparrow Day is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world. The Nature Forever Society was started by Mohammed Dilawar, an Indian conservationist who started his work helping the House Sparrow in Nashik, and who was named one of the “Heroes of the Environment” for 2008 by Time magazine for his efforts.
The idea of marking World Sparrow Day came up during an informal discussion at the Nature Forever Society’s office. The idea was to earmark a day for the House Sparrow to convey the message of conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds and also mark a day of celebration to appreciate the beauty of the common biodiversity which is taken so much for granted.
The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 in different parts of the world. The day was celebrated by carrying out different various kinds of activities and events like art competitions, awareness campaigns, and sparrow processions as well as interactions with media.
World Sparrow Day also has a broader vision to provide a platform where people who are working on the conservation of the House Sparrow and other common birds can network, collaborate and exchange conservation ideas which will lead to better science and improved results. It aims to provide a meeting ground for people from different parts of the world to come together and form a force that can play an important role in advocacy and in spreading the awareness on the need of conserving common biodiversity or species of lower conservation status.
We here at Nature Travel Birding love all birds, including the common ones like the House Sparrow. To see it and its common cousins, but also many more exotic and colourful ones, join us on a tailor-made private and small group birding tour to one of the many birding destinations that we offer.
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