What is Citizen Sparrow?

Citizen Sparrow is a public participatory project to which all members of the public are invited to contribute. Citizen Sparrow is motivated by the observation that House Sparrows have declined in numbers in many parts of the country, while in a few other parts their numbers are reported to be stable. Where are sparrows still found in India? Where were they found before? Where have they declined the most? Have they actually increased in some places? Your information is crucial to finding out the answers to these questions. Citizen Sparrow will run for two months, that is, for April and May. At the end of this period, a summary of the findings will be prepared and published online as a report. The patterns uncovered by the Citizen Sparrow project will be subsequently used to investigate change in sparrow populations in more detail.

Who runs the project?

The project is run by the Bombay Natural History Society, together with a consortium of organisations interested in nature, birds and conservation from all across the country. Click here to see the full list. Many people are involved in various aspects of Citizen Sparrow. Karthik K is the Project Coordinator. Many others have provided advice and/or volunteer to handle day-to-day management and communications, including Anush Shetty, Asad Rahmani, Chandrima Home, Divya Mudappa, Kalyan Varma, Koustubh Sharma, MD Madhusudhan, MO Anand, P Jegannathan, Pavithra Sankaran, Rajeev Pillay, Raju Kasambe, Raman Kumar, Ranjini Murali, Rohit Naniwadekar, Saloni Bhatia, and Suhel Quader. The website was designed and implemented by Narayan Raman.

Who can participate?

Absolutely anyone! If you have lived in or even visited a place where you noticed sparrows (or noticed that they were absent), your information is very valuable. It's worth repeating that it is not only sparrow presence that is important: if you have information about the absence of sparrows from any particular place, this information is very valuable. Please make sure that you are reporting information about the House Sparrow (photos on the home page), and not about any other kind of bird! If in doubt, please contact us at info@citizensparrow.in.

What information does the project ask for?

If you click on Add a record, you will be asked for the precise location of the locality or area that you are describing. This is done by you zooming in and clicking on a Google map. You will then be asked what time period you have information about - in increments of half-decades (eg, 1990-1994). You will be asked a few details about the kind of locality this is or was, and how well you know or knew it. Then follow questions about sparrows - how frequently you saw them in this locality and time period; how many you typically saw, and whether you ever saw nests. All this is mandatory information, but will take you at most 5 minutes to fill out.

In addition, there are several optional questions, including the option for you to contribute an observation or story about sparrows, and to give more details about the locality you are reporting about.

In all, the entire survey should not take you more than 5-10 minutes to complete. A much more detailed step-by-step description of how to participate can be found here.

What happens to that information?

As soon as you enter your sparrow information, an icon will appear on the combined map indicating your entry. Others can click on the icon to see what you have entered. In addition, any story that you have contributed will appear on the Story page, together with those of others.

At the end of the project, the combined dataset will be compiled and made available on this website for anyone to download and explore. We will summarise the collected information in a report, which will also be available for download. We anticipate that the information collected in this project will be used as a starting point for more detailed studies of sparrow populations and distribution.

How can I help?

The first way to help is to contribute the information you have on sparrows. Once you have done this, you could encourage your friends and family to do so as well. We are very grateful to each and every person who contributes their valuable time and information in this way, and all contributors' names are listed on this page.

Further, if you are part of a larger group - a school, college, nature club, or any other kind of organisation, you could add its name to our list of collaborating organisations, and spread the word through that group. If you would like to do this, please let us know at info@citizensparrow.in so that we can add your group's name to our Partners page. Do ask the members of your group to specify your organisation's name when signing up so that we have a friendly competition among groups for who contributes the most information!

You can also help by asking your friends and contacts in the media to cover this project. Again, if you wish to help in this way, please write to us and we'll send you a media kit. If you are from the media, and would like to contact us, please drop us an email with your phone number and we'll respond to you within the hour.