House Sparrow Chirps again
The city is experiencing the “rise of house sparrow”, thanks to the missionary zeal and dedication of Prof Sandeep Chahal, a bird lover. House sparrow has almost disappeared from urban areas and to a large extent from the countryside also because of the extensive use of pesticides in the farm sector. With the replacing of wooden and thatched house roofs by concrete material, domestic sparrows have lost their favourite habitats in residential areas. India is one of the countries, which have witnessed a massive decline in the house sparrow population during the past 30 years.
However, Prof Chahal, who is working hard for the past three years to bring sparrows back in the city life, has come out with a solution to deal with the habitat problem faced by these little chirpy birds. He manufactures wooden nests himself and distributes these free of cost to all those having love for birds. Till date he has distributed about 350 nests made of water and termite-proof wooden material.
He has kept all tools and wooden material at his home in Wadala village, on the outskirts of the city, and spends his free time to manufacture nests.
“Initially, I faced some problems in handling the manufacturing job. But now, I am well versed in this art. I prepare the nest in such a manner that birds adopting it should not face even a minor discomfort while living in it,” said Prof Chahal, who teaches English in the local Doaba College. As eagles, snakes, hawks and cats are the predators, which attack sparrows and their eggs, nests are hanged at such places in a house that these should be beyond their reach, he said.
“It is my rough estimate that 4,800 sparrows have been added to the bird population of the city due to my efforts during the past three years,” said Prof Chahal. “I give a nest only to those people whom I find committed to the cause of birds,” he said. He launched an organisation “Dastak” with the objective of breeding sparrows and saving butterflies. “We have launched recently a new project that is related to the saving of butterflies, beautiful creatures of nature,” he said. “People kill butterflies and fix them in photo-frames to hang as decoration pieces in drawing rooms,” he said. “Monarch and cabbage butterflies are common in Punjab. But these are killed and sold by fixing in photo-frames,” he said.