The gauriya (House Sparrow) (Scientific Name: Passer domesticus) is a bird of the sparrow family Passeridae, found in most parts of the world. Gauriya is typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a weight of 24–39.0g. Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey while males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. Sparrows (Goraya) were once abundant in the city spaces and rural markets in India. But rising concrete jungles, increasing pollution and now, mobile phone towers are causing them to disappear from the Indian landscape.
A study was initiated in 2009 year in London by the British trust for ornithology to investigate whether the explosion of electromagnetic waves from portable handset is wiping out sparrows in London. The British sparrow population has almost halved in the last 30 years, from 24 million to less than 14 million. Spanish scientists have found that birds tend to avoid places with high levels of electromagnetic contamination. Mobile phone masts are located in high places for maximum coverage, which could explain a decline in species which tend to nest in roofs. (guardian.co.uk).
According to Dr S. Vijayan, Director of the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON),
“A number of studies has been conducted to find out the relationship between the increase in electromagnetic waves and the decrease in the number of sparrows. A positive correlation has been found between them.
The Researchers from Punjab University's found that embryos of 50 eggs of house sparrows were damaged after being exposed to mobile tower radiation for five to 30 minutes. In another study Sparrows exposed to the radiation suffered from reproductive, co-ordination problems and also became aggressive.
A study published in Shodh, Samiksha aur Mulyankan (International Research Journal, Vol. II, Issue-7 (published in August 2009) on Effects of cell phone radition on Gauriya sparrows - Passer Domesticus by S D Dongre and R G Verma of Department of Zoology, Jayvanti Haksar Government Post Graduate College, Betul. concluded that the House Sparrows are fast disappearing from contaminated with electromagnetic waves arising out of increased number of cell phone to Bhopal, Nagpur, Jablpur, Ujjain, Gwaliar, Chhindwara, Indore & Betul.Wireless telecom revolution is catching on at the expense of a tiny winged creature the Passer domesticus.
Initiative to save sparrow population
The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated on March 20, 2010 across the globe to celebrate the beauty of the house sparrow. National and international organisations, NGOs, clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals across the world celebrated the event by organizing awareness programs.
Goraya was announced a state bird of Delhi by Delhi CM on 6 Oct 2012.
How to participate
Visit the Citizen Sparrow website, register yourself and start reporting the presence or absence of sparrows in your locality using the online forms provided. You can enter your location either by manually inputting the geographical coordinates of your neighborhood or selecting it from a map. The information you submit is fed into a national database. You can report as many records as you like from as many locations as possible - from common areas like your school or college campus, local bus stand, railway station and airport to agricultural fields and home gardens.
You can help!
By spending 5 minutes documenting the presence or absence of sparrows in localities you know well, both at present and at any time in the past, you will join enthusiasts all over the country in helping sparrows.
Log on to http://www.citizensparrow.in