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Sparrows making a comeback...

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Sparrows making a comeback...

Old 7th Jun 2019, 09:57
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Sparrows making a comeback...

I've always liked sparrows, the cheerful cheeky chappie of the avine world.

Over the last decade or so they have gone from being as ubiquitous as pigeons to just small isolated colonies, certainly around London. I know of three or four such groups of perhaps 20 birds in different areas of Croydon.

However this year I have noticed more of them around and it appears they possibly are making a comeback. A letter in the Telegraph this week seems to confirm my own observations. Anybody else noticed this, are they starting to proliferate again?
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 10:20
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I don't know if they're coming back here, but they seemed to disappear at about the same period or a bit longer here.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 10:57
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I remember seeing finches being just as populous as sparrows in my yoof yet I haven't seen them make a comeback.

Those Indian Mynas are a real pest and have proliferated in my area. Do they have a natural predator? I've seen a few Magpies giving them a hard time but there are just too many of them.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:02
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Yes, I’d agree that sparrows seem to have made a significant comeback where we live in Hampshire. We also see a tremendous, and I really do mean tremendous, rise in the number of goldfinches too, glorious.

Last edited by yellowtriumph; 7th Jun 2019 at 11:55.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:08
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In my area there are definitely more sparrows. Although they love the sunflower hearts in my bird feeder, they have preference for ground feeding - when my cats aren’t out!

What I have noticed a massive decline in is starlings. I live in a pretty rural area and when I first moved here, there were huge flocks that moved like shoals of fish, particularly on late summer evenings. Often, they would sit in great numbers along the ridge tiles of the houses in the village whistling and squawking. I used find them really entertaining. They argued constantly and had punch ups over one crust of bread when there was loads around. They have a very cocky strut too, you could almost see them walking up to each other saying, “You want some?! You want some?!”

Now, we get the odd two or three on the lawn.

Agree about goldfinches too. Loads of these beauties.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:45
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It was a mild winter.

I live on the outskirts of a semi-rural village, and in the immediate area around my house there are no sparrows (and 'never have been' over the last two decades, but there is a colony in the centre of the village that inhabit the ivy on top of a 20ft high wall (you can hear the cacophony and the gound below is peppered with droppings).
Beyond the immediate area there doesn't appear to be such concentrated activity.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:47
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They are certainly making a good comeback down here on the south coast of England. Good to see them.

We have a highly vocal colony in the ivy on the wall of the house next door.
Changes in agricultural practices were largely to blame for the decline in the 70's and 80's but they're bouncing back slowly.
Feed them in winter - Sunflower hearts are their favourite - and you've got friends for life who will flit about chattering noisily outside your kitchen window.

Good on 'em.



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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:01
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Originally Posted by cattletruck View Post
I remember seeing finches being just as populous as sparrows in my yoof yet I haven't seen them make a comeback.

Those Indian Mynas are a real pest and have proliferated in my area. Do they have a natural predator? I've seen a few Magpies giving them a hard time but there are just too many of them.
"Indian Mynahs". I suspect that you're referring to ring necked Parakeets. They are a nuisance though.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:02
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The sparrows were binned many years ago for shooting Cock Robbin, Apparently they have just been let out
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:08
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We have recently had (over the last two years) a small family of Sparrows nesting with us up here in Yorkshire, which is good, and as everyone has commented Goldfinch numbers, or Bandits as Mrs Mac calls them also have improved. What have dropped this year is the number of Swallows returning, with a number of local farms having had no returnees, and we only have 4 when we used to be in double figures.

Regards
Mr Mac
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:20
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Originally Posted by RedhillPhil View Post
"Indian Mynahs". I suspect that you're referring to ring necked Parakeets. They are a nuisance though.
Not parakeets.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/20...pecies/7819394
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:35
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Those Indian Mynas are a real pest and have proliferated in my area. Do they have a natural predator? I've seen a few Magpies giving them a hard time but there are just too many of them.
Do they have any natural predators? Yes, me! I built a trap abot 5 years ago and have caught about 30. Got them down to two, and last year they bred and had two youngsters. Caught one of them, but can't catch the last three. Not that I'd ever think of doing it, as it's illegal, but a shanghai would be handy.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 12:44
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Originally Posted by RedhillPhil View Post
"Indian Mynahs". I suspect that you're referring to ring necked Parakeets. They are a nuisance though.
Not parakeets.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/20...pecies/7819394

P.S. Apologies for the thread drift....
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:00
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Apparently the proliferation of those beautiful but deadly parakeets has had a large affect on the cheeky Sparrow, certainly in the London/Home Counties area. There's something charmingly endearing about the Sparrow, I hope that they are making a comeback.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:10
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Good to hear agreement about the sparrows - and a couple more letters in today's Telegraph on their resurgence. I have also noticed more goldfinches and agree that starlings seem less evident, also swifts; they are about but not in such numbers I think.

Ring-necked parakeets are the same problem in the UK as the mynas. Bloody things are very evident in the greater London area, just used to be a phenomenon on Richmond Common.

Looks like the red kites are joining the buzzards' migration eastwards into Kent; saw a pair up near Biggin Hill last week.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 14:14
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Good news about the humble house sparrow, tree sparrows on the other hand are pretty rare. The 2 species who's numbers are getting out of hand are Pigeons and Magpies, the latter are having a real impact on songbird numbers through raiding nests.

Cull the beggars I say.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 14:34
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Cull the beggars I say.
Ooh, you'll upset wot'sisname... But I agree.

Another bird that seems more common is the jay.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 15:09
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Originally Posted by Mr Mac View Post
We have recently had (over the last two years) a small family of Sparrows nesting with us up here in Yorkshire, which is good, and as everyone has commented Goldfinch numbers, or Bandits as Mrs Mac calls them also have improved. What have dropped this year is the number of Swallows returning, with a number of local farms having had no returnees, and we only have 4 when we used to be in double figures.

Regards
Mr Mac
Ironically, we have not one, but two, sets of housemartins nesting in the eves but no swallows seen at all. There's a gang of sparrows in a hedge at the end of the road, and we've got a pair of magpies nesting in a tree opposite.....there's also two pairs of pigeons.......... so the airspace gets a bit contested to put it mildly.

The most entertaining sight recently was said magpies, about 2ft away from next doors cat....the racket from the maggies suggested they were taking the proverbial out of the cat....which couldn't make up its puddy mind as to what to do.

Haven't seen goldfinches for ages, but certainly quite a few bullfinches and heard a cuckoo on the Chase a couple of days ago.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 15:45
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We're "up north" and no great shortage of house sparrows now, but still in far smaller numbers than were in my youth. Just watching one or two on the bird feeder as I write.

All the starlings seem to have moved up here, they are the "chavs" of the bird world in my opinion and I often shoo them away from the bird feeder by my window.

I've been told that Swallows have been deliberately trapped in huge numbers before they reach UK.

House Martins have taken up residence on the new houses in our village - some houses are three storeys and no predator can reach them up under the gable ends.

We have seen only a handful of Swifts this year - we have had a colony nesting under the eaves of half a dozen older houses down our road for the last thirty years that we know of, but unfortunately all but one have recently had UPVC soffits and barge boards fitted, denying them access. A huge shame as the birds return to the same nest sites year after year and they've come all the way from Africa without landing since they nested last year - only to find they've shut the airport! I would fit nest boxes to our house, but unfortunately we live in a bungalow, it's too low for them to use.

We too have noticed a big increase in Goldfinch numbers this year, there have been at least two nests in or around our garden - I put a Nijer seed feeder out for them. A Goldie fledgling overshot into the house a few days ago through the patio door opening - I managed to catch and release it before the Jack Russell Terrorist got it.

We've also had a family of Blue Tits in the nest box with the camera - I've spent quite a few quid supplying them with live mealworms - the ones that the "chav" Starlings didn't get to first, that is.

Also had Great Tits, Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Collared Dove and Wood Pigeon on the feeder and I've just noticed there's a Robin fledgling out there pecking around below it. We often have had Buzzard overhead (now relatively common up here and usually heard being mobbed by the local crow population) and see very low flying Canada and Greylag geese, which haunt the local lakes.

Talking of ponds - I have a problem Heron...lost hundreds of pounds worth of fish to the damned thing.
However - we have also lost a few birds to the dreaded Sparrow Hawks, which fly in like stealth bombers. Magnificent birds but I hate to see then ripping live birds apart, which is what they sometimes do on our back lawn.

Anyone else completed the "SpringWatch" Garden watch survey, btw? Did mine earlier.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 16:03
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Originally Posted by Echo Romeo View Post
Good news about the humble house sparrow, tree sparrows on the other hand are pretty rare. The 2 species who's numbers are getting out of hand are Pigeons and Magpies, the latter are having a real impact on songbird numbers through raiding nests.

Cull the beggars I say.
There's no reason to cull magpies. They are beautiful creatures that have always been a predator of smaller birds and nature has always kept them in balance. We just need to leave nature alone and stop thinking that we know better.

It's only when man interferes that things go wrong. Importing species like mynahs, parakeets and grey squirrels. Not to mention invasive plants that have no natural predator here.
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