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Schoolchildren and farmers join bird rescue mission - Operation Tree Sparrow

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Old Friday 24th June 2005, 17:55   #1
Chris Monk
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Schoolchildren and farmers join bird rescue mission - Operation Tree Sparrow

Schoolchildren and farmers join bird rescue mission - Operation Tree Sparrow

Schoolchildren, students, farmers and local communities have mounted a rescue bid to help a farmland bird that's in trouble.

The RSPB Operation Tree Sparrow sees them come together in the fight to save the tree sparrow - a bird that has suffered alarming population declines in the last 30 years.

From Lancashire to Cheshire, volunteers have placed feeding stations and over 200 nestboxes in tree sparrow 'hot spots', where the birds are still hanging on. Already more than nine tonnes of seed has been delivered and will be put out over the course of the next few weeks.

Children at Treales CE School, near Kirkham on the Fylde, have 'adopted' a colony of tree sparrows near their school. Headteacher Mrs Mary Hewitt said: 'The children have taken the responsibility of caring for the tree sparrows very seriously and the scheme has become part of a project on developing the school grounds and environment.'

'The children have taken the responsibility of caring for the tree sparrows very seriously'The school backs onto land at Cross Hill Farm where nest boxes will be sited. Farmer Brian Robinson said: 'As a farmer, I think it is good to be doing conservation work and the ability to link with the local school appealed because it is important to have an area for children to learn about local wildlife.'

Carol Coupe, RSPB Farmland Birds Officer said: 'We have had a fantastic response from people keen to get involved with this project and to work alongside the RSPB, helping to reverse the decline in our farmland birds, such as tree sparrows. Without the continuing support of all those involved, projects like this would not be possible.'

Farmers around Burscough and Pilling in Lancashire, and local bird groups such as Fylde Bird Club and South East Cheshire Ornithological Society are already working independently to help tree sparrows and have been doing for sometime.

The RSPB's Operation Tree Sparrow project recognises the work already taking place and is looking to enhance and support that work by extending the project into new hot spot areas.

Tree sparrows are generally found on arable or mixed lowland farmland. The adults feed on seeds and feed their young with small insects. Tree sparrows seek out areas where both sources of food are readily available. This can include rough grassy areas, winter stubbles, weeds in crop margins and damp areas.

Traditionally, tree sparrows nest in holes in trees and farm buildings. They are sociable birds and generally nest in colonies. Operation Tree Sparrow will provide small groups of nest boxes and establish winter feeding stations - with the hope of sustaining and increasing populations in the coming years.


Source: RSPB Public Affairs
20 June 2005
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 07:02   #2
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Good news. Looks like I'll have to come up north to see my first tree sparrow. I've tried down here, but no luck.
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 10:58   #3
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Florall, Martin Mere has a good population of tree sparrows which nest in the boxes provided for them, you can get good close up views of them.
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 11:01   #4
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Florall, Martin Mere has a good population of tree sparrows which nest in the boxes provided for them, you can get good close up views of them.
I'll have to give it a go then next time I'm in the area. thanks.
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 11:15   #5
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I see some nesting in man made holes, like abandoned street lights etc. They inhabit a very small area around St Louis, but once in a while I will see one 25 miles from the river inland. Most are in open land with a few trees by the river.
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 11:59   #6
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Originally Posted by florall
Good news. Looks like I'll have to come up north to see my first tree sparrow. I've tried down here, but no luck.
Florall,

I had to travel out of the South West to get my first Tree Sparrows but I first saw them at Flitcham in Norfolk. There's a regular colony there.
the second place I saw them was Martin Mere so you cant go wrong there.

For those interested in situations outside of the UK, there's a colony at the North Slob in Co. Wexford. I only discovered that last year when I stopped off there.
Unfortunately I didnt get to see any of the said Tree sparrows.

Lets hope that protective measures help this species out. Like any species on the ropes, they deserve all the help they can get.

regards,

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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 13:34   #7
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Florall, I had to travel out of the South West to get my first Tree Sparrows but I first saw them at Flitcham in Norfolk. There's a regular colony there. the second place I saw them was Martin Mere so you cant go wrong there.
Even better news. Flitcham is fairly close to where I plan to stay on our Norfolk holiday next winter, and if I don't get them there, I'm planning a north west holiday later next year, so I can take in Martin Mere then. thanks.
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Old Saturday 25th June 2005, 19:20   #8
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That sounds sorted then.
The other bird to look out for at Flitcham is Rough Legged Buzard. They're occasionally to be found in the vicinity. although there was none there when I visited.

It's a pretty good spot overall with a good variety of birds.

regards,

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Old Sunday 26th June 2005, 09:13   #9
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Originally Posted by Padraig
That sounds sorted then.
The other bird to look out for at Flitcham is Rough Legged Buzard. They're occasionally to be found in the vicinity. although there was none there when I visited.

It's a pretty good spot overall with a good variety of birds.
I had thought you meant just in the vicinity of the village, but I've just looked up in "Best Birdwatching Sites in Norfolk" and it mentions Flitcham Abbey Farm. Is this where you mean? I imagine it is, it sounds like a little gem, and I will definitely try to go there. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Old Sunday 26th June 2005, 10:11   #10
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Yes, I suspect that's what it's called.
Its close to the village and is part of the Norfolk Estate-belongs to the Royals, I think.
It is a gem and you can clock up a fair few birds there for your year list. Egyptian Geese, Bullfinches, Tree Sparrows etc.
Then you can move on to Titchwell, Holkham,Cley etc. and get Twite, Shore Lark, Snow Bunting, Red Footed Geese and more. Sammy, the Stilt, is unfortunately gone.

Enjoy it when you get there.

regards,

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Old Monday 27th June 2005, 11:34   #11
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Originally Posted by florall
Good news. Looks like I'll have to come up north to see my first tree sparrow. I've tried down here, but no luck.

Ouse washes RSPB have them on the feeders at the Visitor centre, never missed them there yet.

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Old Monday 27th June 2005, 12:24   #12
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Ouse washes RSPB have them on the feeders at the Visitor centre, never missed them there yet.
I could try that on my way up to Norfolk. Thanks Mark.

According to the July Bird Watching magazine, which came in the post today, my local patch at Gatwick Airport, which features in their Go Birding walks section, "Tree Sparrows are always present", so looks as though I'll have to start opening my eyes a bit more, because I've been about 30 times in the last year and never seen them. C'est la vie. I suppose my bird identification skills will eventually improve.
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