Dig out the bunting and buy the ingredients for a celebratory cake, it may soon be time to party.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our 2012 house sparrow survey, updating one completed in 2002.
We asked you to tell us where sparrows live in London so we could compare the findings of the two surveys, revealing change over the ten year gap. There's been no dramatic change, in fact the 2012 results reinforce what we found in 2002. Sparrows are more scarce in central London and increase in number as you head towards the suburbs. Interestingly, there was a very slight bias towards the east. but you'd expect that for a bird dubbed the 'Cockney' sparrow.
For a couple of years we've had Londoners telling us they are seeing more sparrows in their gardens and this survey is the first to hint at a sparrow comeback. From a scientific point of view it is far from rigorous and much too early to say there is a sustained sparrow recovery.
They still need our help, and our research has pointed at one way we can all help. Download our advisory note on supporting sparrows:
Sparrows need protein from insects, spiders and grubs when they're young; and carbohydrate from seeds when they're older. An easy way to increase both insect availability and seed is to grow it in our parks, along our road verges and in our gardens or even windowboxes. We grew different seed mixes in some London Parks and found all of them increased the number of insects and seed when not mown short.
We then hosted a conference on the practicalities, costs, benefits and funding of developing meadows and have high hopes many parks will blossom next year. Our challenge now is to convince Londoners to grow mini-meadows in their gardens or on their balconies and windowledges. Give it a go. They look great and could help sparrows too.
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