With having the first really decent sunny and warm Sunday of the year at my Southern Lincolnshire home this weekend I was sat in the garden closely watching the few House Sparrows that we get in the to feed and this led me to begin me reminiscing about the state of the House Sparrow from a local viewpoint.
This local view point is very local, around one street in fact, the street I grew up in; from my birth year of 1960 until I moved away in 1981 and then moved back into in 1998 when we bought a property to be closer to my Mam and Dad. Dad sadly departed now but my Mam is now into her 64th year in the street!
I can recall at; I guess the age of 12 or 13 (1972/73 to save you the maths!); the street having up to 50 House Sparrows in it at all times. This street has only 28 houses and is in reality a cul-de-sac with limited access to a few homes up a lane at the end of the street. I can when thinking about it and comparing to the street today to how it was in 1972/73 when I was playing footy in it as a kid; see major differences in how the street looks with more cars, concrete, slabs, block paving and gravel taking the habitat for all wildlife away not only the delightful and often over looked House Sparrow and that is just the smaller front gardens.
In the mid 70’s the lane at the end of my garden lead to open fields and a farm, maybe that’s a factor too because over the the years this land has been sold onto property developers and a huge housing estate now takes the place of farmland completely. This I am sure has made massive differences to the total number of House Sparrow in the area I now live over the years.
This loss of habitat has definitely had major influence on the status of the bird because in the 44 year period I am talking about the numbers of House Sparrows seen out and about the street is down to at most a dozen, possibly 8 birds from the 50 odd in the mid 70’s I remember. I am guilty of contributing to this change myself when we took up all our front lawn, borders and small shrubs to flatten and totally gravel it so we were able to park our Motorhome off road.
I have different style best boxes up in the back garden for differing species of birds but sadly nothing has nested in these thus far! I have though seen a nestbox 2 doors away used successfully for a couple of rounds by the House Sparrow last year and also witnessed the birds using gaps in roof spaces / tiles like Starlings tend to do.
Our back garden once housed 3 small fruit trees (2 apple and 1 pear) and mixed small shrubs but these are now gone but replaced finally with 3 bird feeding stations – an improvement of sorts I guess? – we now have only 3 medium sized shrubs in the back garden, Pireus, Camelia and Forthsythia. These bushes do occasionally give birds shelter and options to breed successfully in them, not House Sparrow so far though but rather Blackbird and Dunnock.
My brief musings today lead me to pen this and today in the sun I aimed only to take only House Sparrow photo’s to bolster visual aspect of the blog. Maximum numbers of House Sparrows in the garden today was 4 (2 pairs) that when they had enough feed from our feeding stations the headed off to their nests either in the roofs of houses or near possibly not even in our street.
I know this is not anyway near scientific but more a comparison of memories and what is seen today. I would be interested to learn how the ‘Spadge’ as it is affectionately know in some quarters is doing where you are. Below a few of the images I achieved of in my opinion, a very underrated and forgotten species of bird the House Sparrow.