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Sparrows in bramble bush

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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 08:57   #1
Hoggles
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Sparrows in bramble bush

Hi,

We've just recently moved and have our first proper garden. We love the birds that we get visiting and so far our regulars are sparrows, blackbirds, a robin collared doves, wood pigeons, thrush (not sure if mistle or song), magpies and crows.

I love the sparrows, they're really getting use to us- especially since we put feeders up and a bird bath out, there's a flock of about twenty ish (counting sparrows is hard!). The people who lived here before us took no care of the garden and let it seriously overgrow, we've reclaimed almost all of it apart from a huge bramble bush at the bottom of the garden. Our plan is to let it fruit then cut it back, but not get rid as we're making that end of the garden into an allotment, cutting the brambles back will gain is another six to eight foot of garden. My concern is that the sparrows might be nesting in it as they all fly into it whenever they get flighty.

What are the chances that they are nesting there, as opposed to it being a handy place to hide? Does anyone have any advice how to handle this, as I do want to cut the brambles back, but I don't want to put any little guys out of a home.

Thanks in advance
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Old Sunday 10th August 2014, 11:11   #2
delia todd
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Hi Hoggles and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

The is the information about breeding that appears on our Opus article:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Opus
Nests of grass, wool, feathers and other soft materials are made in holes in buildings or other structures, though house sparrows will also breed in thick ivy and natural structures. The clutch consists of 4-5 glossy pale blue eggs which are incubated for about 12 days. The young fledge after about 3 weeks. There may be up to 4 broods in the season which runs from April to August (UK), though 2-3 broods is more normal.

You can read the full article here.
.

It is more likely that they are using the brambles to hide in when they perceive danger, so I'm afraid they may well disappear from your garden if you cut that back.

They've had a hard time over the last 50 or so years, as new house design has meant there are fewer eave cavities for them to nest in, so their numbers have crashed in the UK. Is there any way you can put up some nest boxes for them? This site may give you some clues as to how to go about it.

If you really have to get rid of the brambles, is it possible to replace it with some other shrub which grows quite thickly (they love the beech hedge here, but they do take a while to grow). Blackberries taste lovely you know Makes great jam and blackberry & apple pie.... mmmm... delic! Remember, too, that they will eat a lot of caterpillars and aphids in the breeding season, and weed seeds through the year as well.

There's some more information on the BTO site too.

I hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old Saturday 30th August 2014, 22:03   #3
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Are the brambles high enough for them to be roosting in them at night? If so you might want to consider what they could use as an alternative or maybe leave enough brambles for them to still use as a "go to" when they're startled.

Strangely a large group of house sparrows uses a mature clump of bamboo in my garden as a roost. It's lovely watching them from my window flying from the bamboo to the feeders and back. They use other bushes and trees as well, but mostly the bamboo. When I'm in the garden in the summer at dusk, they're all settling down in the bamboo, rustling around and cheeping quietly.

Stormy weather is interesting for them though - the bamboo is very tall and whips around like crazy in high winds. I thought they'd probably find something a bit more stable but spotted one brave little chap grimly clinging on to a bamboo stem doing a kind of mad fairground ride during a storm.
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