A Letter Written to the RSPB – In 2002 – ‘About House Sparrow Decline.’ – Show 2011 that ‘Nothing from the RSPB‘ – Has EVER Changed!
Never to Start ‘Saving’ – Our Sparrows OR Our Songbirds? 2011 March 12th – By David Lansbury
RSPB The decline of the house sparrow? I feel the need to question your findings on the decline of the house sparrow. Or spug as we called it when I was a young boy. Here is a brief history of my involvement with both the town and countryside.
About nine years ago 2002 I found an article on the decline of song birds, I cannot remember who commissioned the study but more than likely the RSPB. I felt so strongly about their findings I sent the person who did the study a letter you may wish to read and I don’t think things have got any better.
My grandfather who was from Rural Suffolk would tell me stories of life in the countryside when he was a boy; these stories made me realized my heart lay in the countryside. My grandparents would visit relatives in Suffolk a few times a year I took every opportunity to go with them on these trips.’
I have over the years collected birds eggs as a boy, had crows, magpies, starlings, ferrets, kestrels, wild rabbits as pets, had catapults, air guns, and when I was old enough a shotgun. I have been involved in all aspects of country life over the years and have many friends who are farmers or gamekeepers; I spend a lot of time in the countryside going fishing and shooting, helping out on farms and pheasant shoots. Cont -
Photos: House Sparrow: 2010 – Numbers Down 90%! UK Heart Breaking! On Red – Despicable DEAD. Bustling perky gregarious jolly little House Sparrows.
Cheerful and chirpy song – Cockney ‘chirrups.’ Along with their Grey crown. Songbirds-Slaughter: View - Songbirds & RSPB -
House Sparrows – Struggling to survive alone here in Britain?
Maybe ‘they’ just kill off – Keep down their own ‘predator’ species?
Or their Sparrowhawks DONT have legal ‘protection.’ As is placed by RSPB and Since 1954! for Sparrowhawks IN Britain. ‘By the RSPB…!’
Sparrowhawks Which EATS – All ‘our’ Sparrows and Our Songbirds!
Sparrows arrived here towards the end of the last ice age nesting in caves cliffs. “We’ve lived side by side with the Sparrow since man first emerged.”
“Life couldn’t be the same without the Sparrow!”…
‘Every morning at dawn chorus time all across the country they used to form the massed choir.’ Humble Sparrow is increasingly now not even alive.
House Sparrow: Between 1972 and 1996 - Estimates are that 9.6million -
House Sparrows had ‘disappeared’ – A loss of 65%.
1990 – There were eight sparrows for every garden. 2000 – Only Four – 2010 – DEAD 90%!
2000 – House Sparrow – Already extinct in Glasgow Birmingham Manchester Edinburgh Bradford Newcastle Southampton. Etc…
Then the likely reasons given were car pollution emissions killing off the insects on which sparrows feed their offspring in the first crucial days after they hatch. Bad peanuts sold at discount stores. “These nuts end up releasing toxins that are still deadly to birds.
To – Avoid this bird tables should be cleaned every one – two weeks. And always bin any ‘mouldy’ peanuts.”
Help House Sparrows: Allow patches of weeds and unmown grass to attract seeds and insects.
Feed: Sunflower seeds fruit millet. Moist well chopped up chicken sausage meat bacon.
Avoid: Chemicals-sprays pellets killing soft-bodied bugs that House Sparrows and their chicks EAT!
Have: Some really dense bushes scrubs for Sparrows to forage roost and hide in from predators.
They – Need to raise their family under house eaves. So stop blocking them up!
House Sparrows struggling to survive alone here in Britain. Q: WHY this disaster in the UK? – ASK THEN – ‘Only’- The RSPB!’
House Sparrow – 2010 BTO: ‘Numbers’ DEAD 90%! UK Slayed Monstrous. On guess what – Damn forever this – Red Sickly – ‘Deadly’ LIST.
Albert Einstein – “Only two things are infinite the universe and human stupidly and I’m not too sure about the former.”
NOTE: 2010 - House Sparrow – Dead 90% – Extermination! UGH. Along with just – Far Too Many other once ‘common’ British ‘Garden Songbirds!’
Note: ‘Tree Sparrow’ – “Numbers have been decimated 93%” – One Word – Criminal!
‘‘Biggest fall in numbers since records began of any bird breeding in the UK”… Songbirds-Slaughter; speechless! -
Cont: I can take you to farms that have not changed in 30-40 years and yet sparrows have all but disappeared from these farms over the last 10-15 years.
I may not have the academic qualifications as yourselves but I have eyes and ears and an understanding of the countryside that only comes with time.
Your reference to food shortage does not hold for town or countryside, you say farms are tidier, grain is stored in bird proof barns, this is the exception not the rule, and most of these new barns have gaps where small birds can gain access.
You say modern farming methods the switch from spring sown to autumn sown crops are partly to blame because of the loss of winter stubble, well I have yet to see large numbers of sparrows feeding out on winter stubble and this was before the decline in numbers the main reason was the corn that was left on the field during harvest in August had long gone by December. Cont -
2002: Letter written to RSPB about ‘House Sparrow Decline’? – 2011 RSPB Show ‘Nothing’ from them – Has Changed! –
Never to Start ‘Saving’ – Our Sparrows and Our Songbirds…?
House Sparrow: 2010 – Numbers Down 90%! UK?
Heart Breaking! On this damn DEAD – ‘Red – List’…!
Cont: During the winter you were more likely to see them near the farm on a peace of rough ground feeding on weed seeds. Sparrows are versatile moving from area to area during winter months to find food like woodpigeons do, they also move into town gardens if food becomes scarce.
Town sparrows for as long as I can remember have been well looked after on the garden bird table, its success is perhaps the town sparrows undoing because predators have learnt that were there is a bird table there’s likely to be birds.
I remember about seven years ago my wife and I were on a fortnights holiday we did not go away as I had work to do on the house, it was June and the gardens were full of young sparrows as you know young birds are very easy pray.
Within that fortnight we witnessed at least two sparrow hawks taking young sparrows two or three times a day plus the odd blue tit and young blackbird this is apart from what was taken by cats and magpies.
“The reintroducing of birds of prey by the R.S.P.B is in my opinion one of the main reasons there as been a fall in songbird numbers.”
I have now lost count the number of birds I’ve seen taken by hawks (mainly sparrowhawks) and if I have not seen them take birds you only have to look for a plucking post to find out what type of birds are being taken and how often.
If you think about it for years anything with a hooked beak and talons was poisoned or shot and birds of prey came close to being wiped out not a good thing in my opinion and we know this still goes on today. With very few predators to keep numbers in check birds like starlings and sparrows grew to large numbers.
If you now put a bird like a sparrowhawk into this environment they will have the ideal breeding conditions and as hawk numbers increased over the years so song birds decreased in number at about the same rate.
One bird that has decreased in numbers over the last 8-15 years is the starling and it is not lack of food or nesting that as caused this decline because starling will eat anything from a piece of bread to rotten vegetables or carrion, it would be interesting to here your opinions on this matter!
I have seen a steady increase in the number of birds of prey over the years but this last eight years or so they have exploded with sparrow hawks and common buzzard in particular.
What buzzard I hear you say; but they are too big and not agile enough to catch small birds.
Take it from me if a buzzard is hungry enough and there are young birds about you will be surprised just how fast and agile they can be.
I have lived in this area for over thirty years and had not seen a sparrow hawk until about thirteen years ago they are now a common sight in this area especially in my garden they have taken their toll on the local sparrows.
“So much so that we have not seen one sparrow on the bird table for over a month.”
And again this year in what looked like being a good year for the sparrow.
This is a list of predators that myself and friends who live and work in the countryside feel are the real reasons for the decline in Sparrow and Songbird –
Numbers – 1) SPARROWHAWK. 2) CAT. 3) MAGPIE.
“Although there may be other factors involved such as loss of nesting sites due to people having their houses trimmed with plastic thus blocking entry to the roof. These factors are very small compared to the amount of predation over the last few years.”
I look forward to receiving your reply and hope that this brief insight into some of the things I have witnessed over the years is of interest to you.
Written in the Year 2002 – By David Lansbury:
RSPB 2002 – ‘Decline’ House Sparrow! ‘2010 DEAD 90%!’ Stubborn RSPB Conceit! – “Nothing Changed Never ‘Saved’ OUR SPARROWS!”
Songbirds-Slaughter – View: ‘Your Lost Birds & RSPB!’
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