Birdwatch News Archive
House Sparrow numbers are on the up in Wales, according to the latest figures from the Breeding Bird Survey. Photo by J.M.Garg (commons.wikimedia.org)
House Sparrows prospering in WalesBirdwatch news team
Posted on: 29 Jul 2012
The latest figures from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) reveal that numbers of House Sparrows have doubled in Wales since the early 1990s, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has said.
House Sparrows, once widespread, have been in drastic decline across the UK since the 1970s, and are now red listed as a species of conservation concern. These declines are thought to be caused by decreased survival due to lack of food, and decreased productivity in urban areas, but the exact mechanism is unclear. Happily, numbers have recovered slightly in recent years, with the biggest growth in Wales, where House Sparrows have seen a 106 per cent increase since 1994.
This is in stark contrast to British breeding waders, with recent reports of declines in numbers for four species.
Kate Risely, BBS organiser at the BTO, said “It is encouraging that BBS volunteers are able to measure this recovery of the House Sparrow population in Wales.”
Dr Sian Whitehead, ornithologist at the Countryside Council for Wales, added “The recent establishment of BTO Cymru has already seen an increase in BBS coverage in Wales, providing better information about the population trends of many of our widespread species. With a full-time BTO presence here in Wales we can now look forward to engaging with even more volunteers, whose dedication and enthusiasm will allow us to gather even better information about Wales' bird populations.
“The BBS survey provides vital information for RSPB Cymru’s scientific research and conservation management here in Wales. The news that our House Sparrows are doing so well is a cause for real celebration.”
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