How to Participate in Citizen Sparrow
Participating in Citizen Sparrow involves signing up, contributing one or more records, and exploring the contributions of others.
There is nothing special you have to do to sign up. From the home page, just fill in your full name and email address (plus a few optional items) and you'll be signed in and ready to contribute your sparrow information! If you are contributing as part of a larger organisation, perhaps a college or nature club, please be sure to write your organisation's name in the space provided - this will provide some friendly competition among groups about who contributes the most!
When you sign up, a password will be emailed to your account. If you only ever wish to sign in once to contribute information, you can just ignore that password. But if you plan to return to the site and contribute more at a later date, please save the email that we send you.
Contributing sparrow information
This is the most important part of the website. We'll go over it carefully.
On the Add a record page, you will be shown a map of India. We need to know the precise latitude and longitude of the location(s) from which you wish to report sparrow information. Starting with the first location from where you have information, there are three ways to find it on the map. (1) You can click on the map and move it and zoom until you find your location. (2) You can type in the name of your city or town, then click "Locate on map" and then move and zoom until you find your precise location. (3) If you know the latitude and longitude, you can type those directly into the boxes provided.
Whichever way you find your location, please make sure to zoom in as far as possible before clicking on the map. Your information is most valuable if it is associated with a very specific spot (eg, a screen corner, or a bus-stand, or perhaps even a residential colony) rather than with a very general area (like an entire town or city).
Next, please give a name to the precise spot that you have indicated on the map.
If the information that you are about to contribute came from someone other than yourself (eg, your aunt, or a shopkeeper, or an aged relative), please give that person's name and place of residence.
We also ask what rough time period corresponds to the information you are about to give. For example, if you visited or lived in a town in 2003, you would choose the time period 2000-2004.
Next, you will be asked what type of general area your specific locality is situated within. For example, is it located in a City, or Town, or Forest area, etc. We ask this to understand the larger habitat surrounding your location.
Then you are asked what kind of specific locality you are reporting from, like a market or residential area or bus-stand or airport.
We then ask the rough size of the specific locality you are reporting from. For example, if you are reporting about a bus-stand, the size of the area might be 100-500 metres across, but if you are reporting from an entire residential colony, you might choose 500m-1km across. Do remember that you can (and we encourage you to) report from a small area, for example a cluster of shops within a residential colony (which might be less than 100 metres across).
The next question is about how well you know or knew this place, in the time period you chose above. For example, you may have lived there, or you may only have visited the location once or twice. In either case, your information is valuable!
The next few questions are about the House Sparrows you did or did not see: about how frequently you saw them when you passed through that location; about how many there were when you did see them; and whether you observed active sparrow nests, which means with sparrows carrying nesting material to the nests, or parents incubating eggs (which is very difficult to know), or parents feeding chicks (which is a bit more obvious!).
A final question on this page is whether you would like to share a story or observation about the sparrows of this area. Even the smallest incident that you may have observed is interesting for others, so please don't hesitate to dredge your mind for meaningful or humorous memories!
This, now, is the end of the really crucial part of the survey. If you are tired of answering questions, you can just click on "Submit" and be done with it. But if you have a little more energy, please do click on "Save and add optional details", where you can give more information about the kinds of building found in this area, whether anyone every provided food or nestboxes for sparrows, how much green space there was/is, and so on.
But that's not the end of it! If you lived in or visited this location over a longer time span than five years, please do fill out a separate survey form for each half-decade interval you have information from. This information (from the same locality, but different time periods; there is a link to provide this) will be essential to understand whether sparrow populations have been increase or decreasing or remaining relatively stable over the years. Or, if you have information from another location, you can fill out a completely fresh form.
Exploring the data
Once you have contributed your information, please don't leave yet! Everyone's information is available for you to explore on the website. On the View Map page, you can see where in the country information has come in from; and you can zoom in and click on the areas you are interested in to see all the details of what others have said about sparrows in their localities. Please also take a moment to look at our Contributors page to see if you spot the names of your friends; and of course the Stories page is where everyone's anecdotes and observations are listed. If you have a Facebook account, you can click on those stories you particularly like! Please do spend some time looking over and appreciating the effort of many other contributors like you; and tell us if you have any comments or suggestions: email@example.com
Thank you for participating in Citizen Sparrow!