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November 24, 2008

Comments

brodie

Jim - yes turning front gardens into parking areas is a factor as are rear gardens that have more concrete than vegetation. That said another factor in the loss of the sparrow is the resurgence of the sparrow hawk! When I was a kid we used to visit our next door neighbour who was house bound and loved feeding the birds. Her bird table was her joy. However, as well as putting food on the bird table we would also pile balls of wool at her side so she could throw them at the window when the sparrow hawk came in for the kill!

Jim Gordon

Not sure about the sparrow hawk resurgence explanation, Brodie. Female sparrow hawks take bigger birds like blackbirds, thrushes etc, and the male takes small birds of which sparrows are only one - finches and tits are other examples. Rather than increase of predator I still think it's the decrease of food source and loss of optimum environment, and with too little time for small birds to adapt.

When I lived on the farms (albeit decades ago) there were flocks of sparrows - now there are far fewer farms, and those that remain are larger with fewer outbuildings suitable for small bird nesting. Increased pesticide use reducing insect populations exacerbate all this. So even in the country, but now in urban environments as well, our passion for tarmac, concrete, combustion engines, insect free zones - och don't get me started again. :-)

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