The Humble House Sparrow: Delhi’s State Bird


The house sparrow is the most loved and commonly found bird in the urban cities. This bird is not bigger than a tennis ball with black streaks on its back. The male and female can be distinguished very easily because of difference in the color. The male is dark brown in color with a grey chest, black bib and white cheeks whereas female body is of light brown color with no bib or different colored cheeks 

This bird makes nest in the buildings by finding the holes and openings in the walls or using the bird houses or nest boxes placed by humans in the garden. It mostly feeds on seeds but during the breeding season it feeds its hatchlings insect. But sadly, the number hese birds have started depleting in number in India, 20 March is observed as World Sparrow Day in order to spread awareness to raise consciousness in this regard.

Around 2012 the sparrows’ count depleted at a faster rate, the numbers fell by about 60-70%. There are evidences that sparrows are human dependent and are found around them from a very a long time, however the high scale urbanization plays major role in the depletion of their count. Multistoried buildings with only glass panel for windows, concrete parking spaces and lack of spots for ventilation left few nesting spaces and have led to disappearing of sparrows. The houses still have potted plants and garden patches but the decrease in common gardens or parks where the bird could find warm insects and earth warms to feed their hatchlings is also one of the reasons which have forced the species to find other settlements, Mobile towers scattered over the skyline in both urban and rural areas is also a contributing factor.

The humble house sparrow was given the status of state bird of Delhi on 14 August 2012 by then Chief Minister Sheila Dixit, she was known for environment- friendly initiatives. This decision was announced after the launch of a campaign called ‘Rise of Sparrows’ whose aim was to increase awareness about depleting count of the bird. She also reached out to NGO’s and educational institution to become the partners in the campaign. The ‘Rise for the Sparrows’ campaign aims at educating, inspiring and actively involving the citizens and corporate to get involved in sparrow conservation, monitoring and creating awareness with regard to the conservation of house sparrows and other common birds of India. In October 2012 the campaign also got support from the Indian Post when they released a special cover to recall and pay respect to Delhi government’s decision of making the Humble House Sparrow the state bird. The cover was designed by Nature Forever Society and it features a painting by UK-based artist: Sue Tranter.

Several other states like Andhra Pradesh and Varanasi have also launched campaigns to spread awareness the condition of House Sparrow. In 2016 Varanasi Forest Division, to mark the World Sparrow day in the city, sensitized the school children and distributed wooden sparrow nest among them. Through this initiative about 50 schools were covered and over 1000 wooden nest were distributed. A meet was also organized by a voluntary organized in the Chittranjan Park in Dashaswamedh were the reasons behind the decline of Sparrows were highlighted and pamphlets were also distributed among the people.

Recently another initiative has been taken by national capital to bring its state bird home. In May 2022 Delhi government built is first “Goraiya Gram” in the Gahri Mandu city forest. Along with this, two 'insect hostels' have been set up to provide food to these sparrows. Additionally, several other places in the capital have been reserved for building up 'sparrow villages'. Sudden decline of sparrows is because of pollution and excessive use of pesticides. The conservationist who helped in building Goraiya Gram avoided the use of toxic elements by planting berries like Karonda and Kundni, grasses and shrubs. Feeder boxes and earthen pots have also been placed in the key location, also he sparrow village is now accessible for public visit.

In a first, Delhi builds 'Goraiya Gram' for conservation of sparrows | The  Financial Express

The lockdown and these initiatives have yielded some results. The number of sparrows in Delhi have increased slightly. Since 2016, population has increased and sparrows are fighting for their survival. This is satisfactory that now they are being seen nesting behind ACs or in the shutters of shops or in the cavities of under-constructed metro bridges etc. So for now it is safe to say that the condition is improving as compared to past decades in Delhi.


Add comment

Security code