House spar­rows are an en­cour­ag­ing sign

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Business Update -

Icar­ried out the RSPB Big Gar­den Bird­watch in my gar­den with youngest son, Ar­fon, in late Jan­uary, and the most fre­quent bird was the house spar­row. This is al­ways an en­cour­ag­ing sign as the ter­raced row of houses where I live has al­ways had a good pop­u­la­tion of breed­ing house spar­rows. They love the large prickly hawthorn tree in the front gar­den, which they sit in through­out the win­ter months I have four house spar­row nest boxes in the hawthorn which get used oc­ca­sion­ally, al­though they seem to pre­fer the gaps and gut­ters higher up. The males have a grey crown and a deep chest­nut patch on the neck, a black throat and speckled up­per chest. The fe­male is a more dull brown­ish grey colour, lack­ing any black or chest­nut colour­ing. House spar­rows have de­clined across Bri­tain over the last 40 years and have dis­ap­peared from many land­scapes. One im­por­tant fea­ture to re­mem­ber is that house spar­rows change their diet from the win­ter to the sum­mer. The adult birds catch aphids, green­fly and in­sects to feed their young­sters through the spring and sum­mer months, while in win­ter they re­vert to a more seed diet.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to

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