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'Feathered friends' on the decline

PUBLISHED: 16:53 31 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:46 11 August 2010

Garden sparrow

Garden sparrow

NATIVE British birds like the sparrow, starling and thrush are on the decline in our borough, writes Karen Moss. The results of this year s RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch show that these feathered friends - extremely common in gardens across the capital, ar

NATIVE British birds like the sparrow, starling and thrush are on the decline in our borough, writes Karen Moss.

The results of this year's RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch show that these 'feathered friends' - extremely common in gardens across the capital, are falling in number.

More than 20,000 Londoners took part in the survey, which has been conducted every year since 1979.

The survey of 14,000 gardens revealed that the number of sparrows has dropped from 12 to eight per garden in the last year.

And the number of starlings has dropped from 10 sightings per garden to seven sightings in the same period.

Garden birdlife has decreased since the survey was first conducted; sparrows have declined 64 percent, while starlings decreased by 77 percent since 1979.

RSPB London spokesman Tim Webb said: "We are concerned at the continuing fall in the number of these species.

"These are our most common birds but they're vanishing, mostly as a result of lack of food and shelter."

Senior Conservation Ranger for the council, Gareth Winn said: "People can increase the habitats of birds and tempt them back into their gardens by providing nesting boxes.

"If they are installed under the eves of the house sparrows will be up there very soon; they are very social creatures and three or more can live in one box.

"People should also make sure not to pave over gardens or manicure them too much as the birds like plenty of vegetation."

Even though numbers in Barking and Dagenham are on the decline, figures show that we are still one of the top boroughs in London when it comes to bird watching.

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