Today is world sparrow day! A day to celebrate and raise awareness of sparrows, in particular the house sparrow.
This UK has two types of sparrow, the house sparrow Passer domesticus and the tree sparrow Passer montanus. Once a common sight, both species have sadly plummeted in numbers in recent years, with house sparrow populations falling by nearly 70% between 1977 and 2018, and tree sparrow populations by an estimated 93% between 1970 and 2008.
It’s thought that some of the main reasons for this are a lack of insects for parent birds to feed their young, and fewer nesting sites. Studies have shown that house sparrows do best in gardens with lots of deciduous shrubs, and with little concrete. However, modern gardens can often be covered with paving, concrete or artificial grass, with few places for insects to make home – a problem for hungry sparrow chicks! House sparrows also like to live in groups, and in small holes and crevices in walls and eaves which many modern designs lack. Making your garden insect friendly and installing house sparrow boxes or ‘terraces’ can be really helpful. Click here for tips on how to attract insects and here for instructions on building a sparrow nest box.