Sighting a sparrow in urban area will make one surprise and seeing several of them in one place is sure to evoke surprise and awe. Kudos to the efforts made by L Shivaraj, who for the past 25 years has involved himself in providing a safe breeding place for the sparrows which counts thousands.
Residents of the area take pleasure to feed the birds daily with rice, mixtures, paddy. Housewife Vanaja say: “We feel happy to watch sparrows fly over our houses everyday joyfully. From morning 4 am the birds start chirping, and we have become habitual listeners. Visitors to the temple also enjoy the chirpy noise of the sparrows and their play.”
Going down the memory lane, Shivaraj, a resident of Nanjumalige said: "The previous owner of the house is Badami Nanjappa, an bird lover. He had constructed about six houses in the same locality, and had ensured to provide separate enclosures for birds in all the houses he had built.”
“The exterior portion of the walls of the buildings are constructed in a such a way, that two face (front and back) of the wall has a minimum of 30 to 40 small openings just large enough for the sparrows to sneak. The interesting feature is the holes are inter-connected, so a sparrow can come out of any hole. The birds will have a free unhindered movement within these walls,” he added.
“I am residing in this house for the past 25 years. The number of sparrows residing here have increased to thousands, which were hundreds in 2000. By incorporating a small change while constructing houses, more birds can be provided shelter,” suggested Shivaraj.
“Visitors to my shop congratulate me for leaving the opening in the walls remain as they are. They spend their time at my shop watching the playful activities of sparrows. I have never felt that the birds are extinct,” said Shivaraj proudly who runs a tea shop.
“When sparrows having already disappeared in the city, due to construction of concrete jungles and radiation from mobile towers, efforts of the duo, Badami and Shivaraj is indeed laudable. Shivaraj has never attempted to close the holes, though owners of other buildings have done it,” said 60-yar-old Rajamma, neighbour, who is residing in the locality for the past 20 years.
Another resident Subramanya said: “The menace of monkeys is more who try to chase away the sparrows. But quite surprisingly a couple of Myna birds which come here daily alert the sparrows, by making loud chirping sounds. Listening to the sound Rajamma get alert and chase the monkeys away.”