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Loft Insulation to blame for house sparrow decline? (1 Viewer)


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A spokesman for the BTO has said that roof insulation could be contributing to the decline in the number of house sparrows. Numbers have dropped by 70% since the 1960s and house sparrows in urban and suburban area are faring the worst.

The report says number of starlings and house martins had also fallen by about 50% over the last 40 years.

Paul Stancliffe, a spokesman pointed out there were other reasons for the decline, such as reduced winter food availability, but said loft insulation was undoubtedly a factor as people looked to save money on energy bills.

He suggested homeowners should put up a nest box with a 32mm entrance hole to provide an alternative nesting space where possible.

Article here


Bah humbug
As I recall from a few threads some years back there were also other 'house' factors involved, aside from other environmental factors - notably 'tidying up', plastic fascia boards and gardening changes (eg patios/decking and removal of suitable thick bush cover.)

Tbh from my forays into attic spaces, I wouldn't have thought insulation by itself would be a problem (the traditional fibreglass variety) as it is rarely stuffed up to the edges anyway - down to difficulty in getting it in and as it then can also cause airflow/damp issues.


Well-known member
Is there actual evidence for this? I ask because I have had both sparrows and (not at same time) starlings, nesting, in a loft space with deep insulation.


Former supporter. No longer active.
I think better, longer lasting roof materials preventing birds entering roof spaces has caused the decline


Well-known member
I recently had my loft insulation redone and they automatically fixed the hole up. This hole had played host to starlings this year. I wouldnt have bothered to cover the hole up myself so maybe there is something in this?

PS Dont worry I've stuck a replacement box up :)


Well-known member
i think its a combo of all the suggested things .... in fact its amazing we have any!

Trouble is, I keep seeing situations that go against the suggestions. I live in an estate of modern houses; well insulated and no loft access for birds: plenty of cats - including my own. Yet, my garden is full of Sparrows. They seem to live in bushes, rather than houses. Makes me think that we don't, yet, have the answers.


Well-known member
The strangest thing is that some areas have loads of sparrows and others have none despite being superficially similar. I've virtually never seen one in my garden yet a couple of streets away they are chattering away in every bush. I'm about to put up a sparrow terrace nestbox under my eaves to try and tempt them...


Bah humbug
There must be micro-habitat requirements we aren't really aware of?

Cover? Cat numbers? Disturbance? Think there are a number of requirements that have to tick all their boxes to feel safe?

Despite nesting on houses and being around man all the time, they can be incredibly wary at times. At a feeding station I attend (out in the countryside) the 2 House Sparows are also the most nervous visitors present.


Well-known member
Like Egret, I live on a modern housing estate and my garden is also full of House Sparrows, numbers of which have increased dramatically during the last few years. The situation is exactly the same on my local nature reserve, Titchfield Haven.

Dave W


Well-known member
I count myself lucky to have a resident flock of House Sparrows, they seem to spend a lot of time in the rather large Berberis bush which provides them with cover from Sparrowhawks, I put seed underneath it and they nest in my roof, it's worked for years.
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