House Sparrow Initiative

House Sparrows are in trouble

House Sparrows are now on the UK conservation Red List (species in need of urgent action). We have lost over 70% in the last 50 years – that’s 10.5 million pairs. Reasons for their decline in a city area like ours are thought to be reduction of places to nest, loss of habitat for foraging and loss of insect life.

The NESST House Sparrow project aims to help our House Sparrows and has been awarded a Magic Little Grant through Localgiving.

A survey by our volunteers in Nether Edge and Sharrow during April and May 2022 mapped the House Sparrow colonies in our area, and they are vulnerable. We have researched ways to try and reverse their decline and we hope to turn this into positive action with your help.The map was produced from the detailed survey undertaken in 2022.

Click on map to go to interactive version on google maps. Do any sparrows live near you?

Ways to help: food, habitat and nest boxes

FOOD

Provide feeding stations with seeds and scraps, especially in Winter. In Spring and Summer, live meal worms will help to feed hungry chicks. Put fresh water nearby.

Let a part of your garden grow wild, or plant a wildflower patch – Autumn and Spring are good times to sow wildflower seeds. Wild flowers and grasses provide food for insects and birds. Hollow stems provide hibernation sites for insects and invertebrates such as beetles, weevils and spiders to over-winter: food for the birds. Don’t use pesticides – not surprisingly they kill off insects, and the wildlife that feeds on them. Supporting the insect population will help House sparrows and other declining garden birds.

HABITAT

These sociable little birds like to live in loose colonies. Pairs often stay together for life and return to the same nest site each year. They usually feed and socialise within a few hundred metres of their nests. Leave hedges and shrubs such as hawthorn, to flower and fruit – more food for insects and birds. House Sparrows like hedges, shrubs, and climbing or rambling plants like ivy, bramble and wild roses – to roost, hide from predators and socialise in. Let your lawn grow and don’t be too tidy!

NEST BOXES

House Sparrows like to live next door to each other, hence the sparrow terrace box with three nests! But equally suitable is a group of three single boxes which might be more practical in your location. They will need to be sited away from prevailing wind and rain and not too sunny a spot. Our group can build, or help you build your own nest boxes. The photo on the left shows the single and the terrace boxes which the group have made.

Contact info@nesstadminsheffield.org for more information and advice.