Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Garden Gang

Sparrows have been in decline in most parts of the UK recently but they seem to be making a revival in our garden. They started to appear a few years ago when we put up some small bird feeders and they have been growing in numbers year on year since. We have lived in our house from a new build for about nine years and there were few birds around for the first few years but they have gradually been growing in numbers as the gardens became more populated with shrubs and bushes and now we have a gang of sparrows arriving regularly to feed from our bird feeder.

'Go away, this is all mine!'

I have been able to count approximately forty in the garden on one occasion and there rarely seems to be fewer than twenty on most gatherings. It is difficult to count them accurately because they rarely stay still for long but I believe that I have been able to get an average that must be close to the actual number over several counts. We are happy to see them thriving but they get through the seed and suet balls we put out faster than we can keep up with them.

'I'm not really that hungry'

'I think I'll wait for a chance after the big guys have finished'


  1. Great post Snafu. When we first started feeding the birds we mostly had house finches -- a very pretty bird. But then came the sparrow and they have rapidly expanded in population. But there are five or six or more different kinds of sparrows and THAT is quite a task to identify them. Keeping them all in food does get expensive and we have some might fat sparrows around.

  2. Great photos, snafu! When I was in Romania, my balcony looked directly at the back of house that was covered in ivy from top to bottom. On hot and humid days at around 5:00pm, the sparrows would come by the dozens, all chattering loudly, and bury themselves in the ivy, I guess because it was nice and cool. You couldn't see them at all, you could only hear their chatterings -- and the whole wall of ivy would be quivering like crazy! They would stay like that for about 15 minutes and then, on signal it seemed, they would all, en masse, fly away!

  3. When I had a dog I used to walk her on a daily basis and most days we went along the same footpath, which was surrounded by trees and bushes. One day I was standing waiting for the dog to reappear from the bushes where she was being discreet, when I noticed a particular bush nearby was obviously full of sparrows that were all tweeting and chirping away like mad. Whilst waiting, I was staring at the bush trying to see if I could spot one, after a few minutes of staring I realised the chirping was lessening until just one bird was tweeting. A loud chirp from one of the others shut that one up too. Probably saying in Sparrow, ‘Shut up you fool! Look out there!’ They remained silent until my dog reappeared and we walked off a dozen yards or so along the path when the noise gradually started up again. Over the following years, each time I encountered a chirping bush I was able to repeat the silencing effect by staring at it steadily, so it seems that sparrows do not like you staring at them.