Arnside and beyond

By gladders

House sparrow

A male house sparrow shows off his under appreciated good lucks in one of our rambling roses.

We have a good colony of sparrows centred on our house and our immediate neighbours' houses.  Numbers seem particularly good this winter, and it will be interesting to see how many we count in the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2 weeks.  The house sparrow topped the list last year as the most numerous garden bird throughout the country, though there has been a 50% plus decline since the Birdwatch started in the 1970's.

There has been quite a lot of research done into the reasons for the national decline, which is more pronounced in some cities such as London.  Our colony is a good indication of at least some of the things they need for success. Secure sites for nests, ideally in close proximity - we have a few in our roof, our neighbour has a lot in hers.  They need thick tangles of bushes and roses to provide them with perching and roosting places, safe from predators.  They benefit from untidy and varied gardens (like ours) where plants are not cut back at the end of the flowering season, which provide a variety of food all year round.  Supplementary feeding is also helpful.

So many gardens even around here have been converted to car parks with nothing but hardstanding, and nothing for a sparrow to eat.  Take a walk around your neighbourhood and see where the sparrows are, the patterns should become clear.

We did take a walk around the neighbourhood today, though not counting sparrows.  We walked down to the front, and along to see the storm damage in Beechwood.  There were a lot of people out walking today on a mild and not too damp Winter's day.

Gus stayed at home, though he does continue to improve following extraction of the sloe thorn from his foot and two day's of antibiotics.  There is life in the old dog yet.

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