Berhampur: Ornithologists and bird lovers have urged the Odisha government to conserve house sparrow by taking initiatives to breed it.
"The time has come to think about breeding sparrows because the population of the bird has declined alarmingly," said wildlife expert and former chief conservator of forest Sudhakar Mohapatra.
In earlier days, before the onset of rains, hundreds of house sparrows, popularly know as 'ghara chatia' in the state, were seen bathing in the dust in open spaces. The scene was indicative of the advent of rain. But the scene is now seen rarely as the sparrow is hardly sighted, said ornithologists.
"Disturbances in their habitation is the main reason for their fast dwindling population", said Mohapatra.
Although there is no concrete data on the rate at which the population of house sparrows is declining, bird lovers said the figures were quite alarming.
"House sparrows generally build their nests in nooks and crannies in thatched roofed houses. As concrete structures don't allow such nesting, house sparrows are not seen in urban or rural areas these days," said noted ornithologist UN Deb.
The design of the house should be environment friendly so that the house sparrow would be attracted to make nests, he said. Vanishing gardens and extensive use of pesticides are some of the reasons for the declining population, he added.
Chief Wildlife Warden SS Srinivatav said the International Union for Conservation of Nature was yet to list sparrow as an endangered species.
"Though there is no government programme for its conservation, we extend moral support to the individuals or organisations who work in the field," he said.
"We'll take up a plan by involving members of the Vana Surakshya Samitis (VSSs) for conservation of house sparrows in our area," said Divisional Forest Officer (Berhampur) AK Behera.
The country observed World Sparrow Day on Sunday.