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House Sparrows and Starlings, how many in your area?


Bobby
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These birds are on the RSPB red list of endangered species in the UK and in severe decline. House Sparrows have declined 71% across the UK in the past 25 years and Starlings even more. House Sparrows have declined 17% and Starlings 16% in the past year alone. (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/mar/28/rsbp-garden-birdwatch-survey)

 

How many do you see in your area compared to the past? It seems the worst of the decline has been in the SE and they have disappeared from some places. Thankfully there are loads of them here in our garden, they're both on the bird feeders almost all day. Both seem to have bred well this year too with lots of young ones seen. Seems it's a different story in other places though.

 

What is the cause of the decline?

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Posted
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex
  • Location: up a bit from from Chelmsford, Essex

    Although House Sparrows have raised a couple of broods in the nest box I made for them they do not hang around the garden much once flown.

    See the occasional Starling strutting about but this is infrequent.

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    Posted
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales
  • Location: Brecon Beacons, South Wales

    I occasionally hear a hedge sparrow, but there haven't been any house sparrows or starlings round here for years.

     

    There have been various lines of research on pesticides, lack of food, noise pollution, loss of habitat, predation by mammals, competition from other birds for food or breeding sites, but I don't think there have been any concrete conclusions yet.

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    Posted
  • Location: Shrewsbury
  • Location: Shrewsbury

    Still see flocks of starlings quite regularly, both in gardens and fields, but very few house sparrows, or dunnocks for that matter. In the 80s they were both ten a penny round here.

    Don't seem to be so many Robins or Bullfinches either since the 2007-9 climate switch?

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    Posted
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W
  • Location: Kingdom of Fife: 56.2º N, 3.2º W

    Think all the sparrows and starlings have migrated to our back garden! Absolutely loads of them.

     

    Secret seems to be our garden pond which has both a waterfall and a rock with water bubbling up through it from a separate pump (It's their jacousie!). These water features never stop even in the hardest of winters. The pond sits in a fairly shallow water table so the pond bottom never totally freezes. Food isn't so much a problem but birds need water and this can be a lifeline for them in the winter or during drought.

     

    The other problem for house sparrows is the insulation and roofline modernisation on older properties. It dramatically reduces the available nesting sites.

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    Posted
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion
  • Location: Evesham, Worcs, Albion

    I was getting up to 2 dozen starlings in my garden until I stopped putting out suet balls (which they were demolishing in a matter of minutes!) and making a right racket in the process as they squabbled over whose turn it was to feed. Still plenty of sparrows on the seed feeder - most adults seem to have raised 2 broods this year thanks to that feeder! 

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    Posted
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire
  • Weather Preferences: Cool not cold, warm not hot. No strong Wind.
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire

    I thought it was just me not seeing them any more, have noticed both their numbers locally showing far less that 3-4 years ago, also seeing less hedgehogs too, but not aware of anything local that has significantly changed that would cause these falls in numbers.

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    Posted
  • Location: Stockport, South Manchester
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms & Snow.
  • Location: Stockport, South Manchester

    I've not seen many sparrows this year at all. We get a regular to neighbours feeding cage. The odd starling.

     

    Seems to be more Seagulls and pigeons. Not seen many blackbirds either.

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    I think houses with these sealed modern eaves aren't good for sparrows as they often use them for nesting. Old houses usually have holes, crevices they can get into. I removed one of the vents in our fairly modern eaves the other month which gives them access, hopefully next year they will set up home. Plentiful foliage helps too as although the adults don't eat insects their young do, so hedges, trees, shrubs etc means more insects for the chicks - apparently the lack of breeding success is the main cause of the decline. There is a lot of greenery around here, large leafy gardens, nearby woods and fairly old houses which probably contributes to them being so abundant.

     

    One of my favourite birds, such noisy entertaining characters, would be a shame to lose them. The starlings make a hell of a racket as well fighting on the feeders.

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    Posted
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire
  • Weather Preferences: Cool not cold, warm not hot. No strong Wind.
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire

    Well I'll be, big flock of seagulls just arrived here.  We are about as central in the UK as you could get.

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    Posted
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos
  • Weather Preferences: Thunderstorms :D
  • Location: Cheltenham,Glos

    Hundreds of Sparrows here.I live on farmland. They nest in the barns and hang around the hedges and bird feeders. As for the Starlings, I don't know where they have gone. As comical as Starlings are, I sure dont miss them eating everything on the bird feeders/table/ground etc. I must admit the Sparrows do that too.

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    Posted
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.
  • Weather Preferences: Thunder, snow, heat, sunshine...
  • Location: Beccles, Suffolk.

    Not many starlings or sparrow to report, but the bushes were teeming with tits today. I've never seen so many.

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    Posted
  • Location: Crewe, Cheshire
  • Weather Preferences: Snow, storms and other extremes
  • Location: Crewe, Cheshire

    Not many starlings or sparrow to report, but the bushes were teeming with tits today. I've never seen so many.

     

    There are a few tits walking about in Crewe on a daily basis, that I can assure you.

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