Noisy and gregarious, these cheerful little birds have even managed to colonise most of the world. Unfortunately they are now struggling to survive in the UK along with many other once common birds. They are clearly declining in both gardens and the wider countryside and their recent declines have earned them a place on the Red List. It is hard to believe that such is happening.
When I was a child they were the most common bird I saw. They would eat any scraps put out into the street. As I married and moved into homes with gardens of various sizes I noticed that the sparrows were not the most common bird in my garden anymore. The starling had taken over that role.
Luckily for me I now have Sparrows and Dunnocks (which look the same to me when I am trying to count them for the birdwatch) nesting and having a good breeding season. I am sure that this is because we feed them all year round and so they know they have a place where food is abundant. They love to bathe in the top of the waterfall and all come to feed at once. The hedge suddenly fills up and they come flying onto the bird table and on to a bush which is filled with fatballs. They love the bread which is thrown out onto the grass as much as the starlings do and it doesn’t matter that the starlings are larger than they are, they will nip in and out of them to gain a little crumb.
I am not sure how many nest in my hedge but they do also nest in one of my neighbours gardens and she tries to feed them as much as possible also with peanuts and fatballs.
I make my own fatballs and make sure that I put in seeds, fruit and bread to give them a varied diet.