Where are our cockney Sparrows? Can you help?

House Sparrow, pic Stuart Dootson

Londoners are being asked to help count sparrows living in their gardens or green spaces. The count will begin this Monday, June 18 and finish on July 12.

Ten years ago a survey found that these lovely gregarious cockney House Sparrows, Latin name Passer Domesticus, were virtually extinct although the reasons for their decline have never been satisfactorily explained. Now the RSPB in partnership with other conservation groups, are counting them again to see if they are coming back.

Londoners are being asked to help map House Sparrow colonies and also pinpoint the areas where there are none to be found. You do not have to be a bird expert and children are being encouraged to join in. It is as important to  tell the RSPB when you cannot find sparrows as well as where they are in any number.

House Sparrow champion, Eleanor Reast, said: “London used to be so sparrow-rich the birds had their own rhyming slang of ‘bow and arrow’. Their numbers are now dwindling in our gardens and parks. We need to know where they are and where they aren’t to ensure we target resources where most needed.”

The count will take place anywhere within the M25 area. You can count them in your lunch break, when you are gardening, walking in the park or you could make a game of it with your children on their way to or from school.

The last count was in 2002 and over 10,000 Londoners responded and the RSPB are  hoping for many more this year.

For more information  contact the RSPB  CSC@rspb.org.uk

Now listen to the sounds our very own bow and arrow, the House Sparrow

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