As part of improving my wildlife knowledge during 30 days wild I am aiming to research a bit about common wildlife I see. The first focus on one of the commonest visitors, the humble sparrow.
Sparrows are a regular visitor to my front gardens bird feeder and an irregular visitor in the back garden. They are social little birds usually arriving in pairs or often coming on their own to be followed by another. They can be found across the UK all year round and in almost all habitats, although they are disappearing from cities.
Through the eighteenth century sparrow bounties were offered in many parishes to keep numbers down. Being fond of grain crops they were considered a pest. These sparrow clubs continued until the 19th century when it was realised it wasn’t helping.
Despite being one of the most common birds on the planet their numbers have dropped dramatically (up to 60%) over the last twenty years, particularly in cities. Different theories have been put forward from car pollution killing insects to lack of nesting spaces.
During the breeding period (April to August) protein is of great importance. Promoting insect life in your garden can help. Alternatively food like meal worms can help this.
Being social they like to nest in groups, so a run of nest boxes together can help. When numbers start to drop it is hard for numbers to go back up as they appear to like the company. So it is important to help before it’s too late. The RSPB sell nest boxes designed to help this.
For more information:
And I’ll finish with a male sparrow caught mid snack.