House sparrows are an encouraging sign
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 www.rmcp.co.uk