Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why are the sparrows disappearing in Britain?

Mystery of the vanishing sparrow The Independent offered £5,000 for a convincing theory about why the house sparrow was dying out in cities. The answer seems to lie with falling insect numbers This excerpt from the article via the above link, further explains:
Dr Vincent, then of De Montfort University in Leicester, said: "This is one of the most mysterious and complex declines of a species in recent years. The study highlights that sparrow chicks are hatching but they aren't surviving. "This is partly down to the loss of green spaces within British cities through development on green space, tree removal and the conversion of front gardens for parking. The loss of deciduous greenery within urban areas may have made life much more difficult for birds like house sparrows that need large numbers of insects to feed their young."
I've noticed fewer and fewer birds (particularly sparrows) have been appearing in my garden this year even though I keep birdfeeders and birdbaths filled. I find it very sad and also quite disturbing. What about your garden (yard)? Have you noticed a decline in house sparrows and/or other birds where you live?


  1. This was a prominent problem in 2002 and does seem to be getting steadily worse. (Mainly in London)
    Cat predation has been mentioned as a factor as well as an increase in Sparrowhawks. Also, I wondered if the more recent decline of the traditional garden. (Everyone is paved now, thanks to Mr Titchmarsh!)Not so many hedgerows....

  2. It is very noticeable where I live (near London). There are definitely less sparrows around. I have seen a lot more cats visiting my garden this year so that could be a factor.

    Yes, I can see how the trend towards very tidy gardens and paved front gardens would affect birds. I've made a point of planting a lot of different shrubs and leaving bits of my garden wild so as to attract more wildlife, so at least I know I'm doing my bit in that regard, but still there aren't as many birds as usual in my garden. It's a (sad) mystery.

  3. The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch 2008 results showed that the average number of birds seen in each garden had declined by a fifth since 2004.
    That's both sad and worrying!
    Have a good weekend. xx

  4. Indeed, it is something to be very worried about, flighty.
    I hope you have a good weekend too.

  5. Come on then Maureen... half an hour to go... who do you reckon is for the chopping block after the dance off?
    My guess is either Jodie or Christine.... what do you think?

  6. LOL, Daffy - I thought it would be one of the two celebrities you mentioned, Jodie or Christine. I couldn't beleive Lisa was in it but then I knew she would get through and Jodie would be out. Poor Jodie - she gave it her best shot and she was ill as well. Still, someone had to go.