Number of sparrows goes up as corpn offers them nests

Coimbatore: ‘Project Sparrow’ is slowly gaining traction in the city.
Launched in May by the city corporation along with Sparrow Conservation Foundation, Centre for Urban Biodiversity Conservation and Education (CUBE) and Mahendra Pumps, the ‘Project Sparrow’ programme has helped increase the number of sparrows in the city.

As per the programme, nest boxes were installed across the city to increase the number of sparrows and to create awareness among the public.

“Till date, we would have installed more than 200 nest boxes and sparrows were spotted in at least half of the boxes,” said B Pandhiyarajan, founder of Sparrows Conservation Foundation. Nest boxes are installed at several places like Ukkadam, Singanallur, Perur, Podhanur, Madukarai and Chettipalayam.

Sparrows use the nest only during breeding seasons and there are four breeding seasons in a year. They start using the nests only after they find them to be the safest place. During a breading season, the sparrows would use the nest for about 21 days.

“We are hopeful that all the boxes would be used by the sparrows as it would take a few months for them to identify and observe the nest before using them during their breeding seasons,” said P Kalaivani, a volunteer from CUBE. They are planning to install more than 3,000 such nests across the district in future.

Awareness among the public has increased, he said. Lack of food and habitat are the reasons for disappearance of sparrows and not the installation of mobile towers and their radiations, an activist said.

“Shortly after programme was launched, we have started receiving a lot of enquiry calls from the residents. But, we do not install nest boxes at all the places. It is only after conducting a field study and ensuring that sparrows are spotted in the region, the boxes are being installed,” said Kalaivani, adding that they receive at least 50 such calls per week.

Numbering the nest boxes, the organizers of the programme have been monitoring the boxes and movement of sparrows to ensure that the boxes are maintained properly, and food and water are kept regularly for the sparrows.

The organizers said that they have also been receiving calls enquiring about the things need to be done to have the presence of sparrows in their region. Explaining that sparrows travel in about 5km radius, they said that upon providing habitat and food regularly, the sparrows would start moving to all locations gradually.

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