October 7, 2015
Coimbatore based entrepreneur Sandeep Kumar remembers those days when he was woken up by the chirping of sparrows in the mornings. “It was somewhere in the 90’s when sparrows used to be our wake up alarms. We stayed in a joint family and every morning my cousins and I were woken up by these birds. However, today sparrows have almost become extinct in our city,” says 29-year old Sandeep.
A news story in a daily about an NGO that works towards saving the sparrow population of the city prompted him to join hands with the group. Sandeep came into contact with city based journalist Ananth Mathivanan and his wife Sowmya Ananth who have been tirelessly working towards the conservation of these birds in Coimbatore.
Nest – Home for Feather Friends, was formed almost a decade ago. This provides boxes for house sparrows free of cost. These boxes become a space for the sparrows to lay their eggs and give birth to young ones. This way the group works towards saving the sparrows from becoming extinct in Coimbatore.
Sandeep tells us that it is a misconception that mushrooming of mobile phone towers is the major reason for the dwindling of sparrows in the city. However, other factors like change in architecture and change in human lifestyle and domestic practices have affected sparrows more than the mobile phone towers.
“Earlier our homes had convenient spots where sparrows could comfortably build nests. However, these days we have more ultra modern homes being built. A majority of us use to wash utensils outside our homes. Sparrows would feed on left over grains of food. These days, utility in a majority of homes is inside the homes itself,” Sandeep says.
All these factors have contributed a great deal to the diminishing number of sparrows in the city. In order to create a friendly environment for the sparrows to build their nests and give birth to young ones, Nest gives away free of cost boxes that are made of plywood. The areas in Coimbatore that have a good population of sparrows have been identified by this organization. The volunteers visit such areas. Residents are educated about the concept before giving away the nest boxes.
The boxes are sponsored by corporates. So far Jagannath Textile Company Limited and Sri Krishna Sweets have sponsored boxes. Nest tells us that this year 180 boxes have been installed in various locations in the city so far. The organization has achieved 90 per cent success rates in helping sparrows lay eggs and give birth to young ones.
The organisation also provides food for the sparrows. Raw kurne rice (half broken) is the best food for sparrow. A bowl of water must also be placed next to the food in the nest box. “Areas like Pothanur, Ukkadam by-pass, Madukkarai Market, Ondipudur and Selvapuram are the areas where sparrows are in considerably larger numbers,” Sandeep says.
The organization invites those interested in helping in their activities to join them as volunteers. Sponsorship for their noble cause is also welcome.