There was a time when sparrows, mainly House Sparrows, were everywhere in their hundreds. When I was young they were the bird we saw most often in the garden.
There were a couple on the feeder one day last week.
Something happened during the 70's and early 80s and Sparrows almost disappeared. We heard a story once about a farm which had had a store of dressed wheat reading for sowing in a big shed and one day someone opened the doors and found the floor completely covered with dead sparrows. Something in the seed dressing (that's what seeds are coated in to protect them from pests) had killed them all. This might be a strange story with no truth in it.....who knows.
The book says
No bird divides the experience of old from young as dramatically as the House Sparrow. There was a bounty of halfpenny a bird in the Second Word War, so damaging to food supplies were it's numbers considered.
Now, especially in town, House Sparrow numbers have plummeted .
But since around 2010 numbers have been slowly recovering and they were the bird most seen in recent RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
We saw almost none at the smallholding between 1992 and 2015 but moving to Clay Cottage in 2017 there were dozens - many roosting under the old tiles of our neighbours house.
There's one place in the village where the hedge always seems full of sparrows but they are not often seen in my garden.
I would gladly repatriate the hundreds of house sparrows that mob my feeders here in Virginia! Not that they are not spunky little birds but it would be nice to have some variety!ReplyDelete
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I don't see many sparrows around here either. It's a real shame and I'm glad they are slowly repopulating again. xxReplyDelete
We have sparrows, they nest in next door's box. What a delightful book.ReplyDelete
I suppose if you kill off the pests with pesticides you break the food chain and the birds diminish. I see very few worms when I am digging these days.ReplyDelete
We have sparrows in our garden, but the majority are starlings. I don't think I'd ever seen a magpie until about 1970 but now there are lots around here. But we are in a village surrounded by fields and woods.ReplyDelete
Yes, fewer sparrows than in my childhood. That is a lovely painting (you can buy it as a greetings card on Carry Akroyd's website)ReplyDelete
We have lots of hedge sparrows (dunnocks) around here. They live in the hedges and are always so busy finding food and getting on with each other. On a sunny day they love a dust bath too and spread their wings almost flat to the ground. Just been looking at Robert Gilmour’s (wildlife artist esp of birds - he designed the RSPB avocet logo - who lived in Cley next the Sea and who died last year) collection of books and artwork which are coming up for sale at Dominic Winter auction house on 1 March. It is so important (I would say absolutely essential) never to use chemicals of any sort in the garden. I have been an organic gardener since the very beginning (joined the Henry Doubleday Research Association in the 80s before it became the Soil Association) and my gardens and allotment are and always have been beautiful and productive and full of life. We are so fortunate here that our neighbouring landowner farms organically too. Only the old drove road full of thistles and knapweed and ragwort and a very ancient hedgerow separates our wildflower meadow from his wood pasture. The birds feed on the seed throughout the autumn and winter and in a few weeks’ time this ground will become a river of primroses. The organic milk from his dairy cows goes to McDonalds! The retired dairy cows live peacefully on nearby open access ground and look after the orphan calves. Sarah in SussexReplyDelete
I can't tell you when I last saw a sparrow in my garden but I expect they will be back to nest in my hedgeReplyDelete
I see some Sparrows but more often the Blue Jays are taking over. They are territorial and often push other birds away.ReplyDelete
One of my feeders is regularly used mostly by House Sparrows and the little wretches will take over the cosy nests made by the House Martins the moment they leave - and even when they are building new ones.ReplyDelete
They are so sweet we do not see many here at the house but at work there was a tree alive with them and so noisy lolReplyDelete
Yes, numbers have fallen - we get a few, and last year a pair of sparrows raised some young in our garden - lovely to seeReplyDelete
Alison in Wales x
Nothing but magpies and seagulls here in our town garden both of which deter any birds from visiting. CatrionaReplyDelete
They don't visit our garden much, but the hedges along the canal towpath are teeming with them in spring and summer ... much to Mavis' annoyance.ReplyDelete
Sparrows are something we have an abundance of here. I love watching all the birds but a visit from a towhee or grosbeak makes my day. Interesting about the seed and how it killed so many birds.ReplyDelete
Lots of Hedge Sparrows here in Sheffield city centre and the rarer Tree Sparrows at our East Yorkshire caravan campsite.ReplyDelete
Sadly I have not fed the birds this Winter due to the cats being outside more now.ReplyDelete
I don't know if the seed story is true but the tale reminds me of the bookReplyDelete
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. A true classic, in my eyes.
In winters past I have had dozens at my feeder but this year, with the weather being milder, I have only seen one or two. I wonder if it has anything to do with global warming?ReplyDelete
In NZ my farming and gardening family would gladly repatrieall sparrows- they can strip a paddock of greens in a day or two so large are the flocks of them. Silver beet (Swiss chard) in the veg garden never made it to table unless we grew it in a small mesh cage. Sparrows!ReplyDelete
At the old house, where I put out a tree full of feeders every year, I would get tired and cranky about all the sparrows mixed in with all the other beautiful birds. Then I moved one block north, and people could not afford to feed birds. There only were sparrows. So I grew content with sparrows. Now I have moved again, to an apartment building outfitted for we oldsters. There is one bird feeder in the atrium. I haven't been here a season yet, but when this winter is over I will have to check up on the feeder situation.ReplyDelete
The house sparrows are all at my house lol. They aren't native to America - apparently they were introduced in 1852 (so they have been here a while!). I think they are quite funny to watch, rather chattery and their babies are quite demanding! Hope you have a great weekend!ReplyDelete
What a lovely illustration of sparrows from that book, and your snapshots are equally wonderful.ReplyDelete