Tuesday, 11 March 2014

house sparrows

It's sometimes the small triumphs that mark out the success of the day. Today has been special.

But allow me to take a step or two back first.

In the UK, house sparrow (passer domesticus) numbers have halved since the 1970's. I put up a house sparrow nesting box at our former home and this coincided with the disappearance of house sparrows from our road.

And now, although there are house sparrows living abundantly in some areas, there are other areas where the once commonplace chirruping is now absent.

On our arrival at Cordwood, I was delighted to hear a cacophony of house sparrows coming over the hedge. They love to be in groups, they love to skulk around in close clipped bushes such as privet and for their untidy nests they need gaps and cavities that are typical of older or 'unimproved' buildings.

We have conquered our privet hedge and it is now close clipped and big. But our new home has no places for the birds to nest. So, in the topsy turvy world of my priorities I set aside time to make one of the special nest boxes that house sparrows are supposed to love. Unlike other birds, their boxes have space for three families living in the same sectioned nest box. And the birds seem to like nests that are some way over head height.

So, I made my colony box, sited it on the vertical north face of our new bungalow and told myself that it wouldn't be used for several seasons.

Checking out the centre compartment
So, I'm working in the orchard, listening to the sparrows chirruping to my north when I hear one calling over to the north west. Strike a light, I can see it on the roof above my colony box! Only a couple of weeks after the box was sited.
Coming out of the right compartment

Ok... I know... Yeah yeah... It was probably just prospecting. And these secretive birds would be distinctly underwhelmed by me working on the earth sheltering just below the box which I had to do later that morning.

Chirruping on the roof
But it's a start! I zoomed the CCTV camera in and achieved the worst photos in the blogosphere to show our little fellah checking us out...

I'm walking on sunshine!!!!

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