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Where have all the sparrows gone?

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posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:00 AM
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I am from Belgrade, Serbia, and the reason for this thread is that I noticed since few years ago that I was missing something, a part of joy and couldn't understand what it was. Then one of those springs I saw a few sparrows taking a bath in a small puddle. I felt a surprise inside me and that was a surprise because it was something normal long time ago to see flocks of sparrows flying around, singing in the morning, taking a bath in puddles and then rolling in dust, making me feel happy and joyful. They'd be everywhere right next to pigeons looking for crumbs. I realised I don't see sparrows any more. Just a few here and there.

What happened?

When googling I saw many similar questions being asked around the globe, so I dedicate this thread to any link concerning sparrows, their way of life, needs, threats,... any knowledge - scientific, observational, emotional... Thanks.

Love to you all




posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:08 AM
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Southern Ontario, Canada here.

No problem with sparrows that I can see. I was startled just the other day when sitting out in the yard to see a sparrow jump and catch a rather large black spider right in front of me. I had no idea they were such carnivores, lol, I thought they just ate little seeds.

Even if this is limited to Europe, I surely hope they aren't also declining.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:09 AM
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I was thinking this to myself the other day.
I remember when i was little, seeing sparrows jumping around the place, but i can't remember the last time i have actually seen one :S



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:14 AM
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reply to post by heartfulloftruth
 

Hi there, I just had to respond to your post since I have always been a bird watcher and have noticed the same thing here in No. California, just today I did see a mother with her 2 babies and a couple of hummingbirds. The numbers are dropping and the figures should be coming in on the "Annual Bird Count". I am sure if you look it up National Audubon Society there may be links to bird counts in your area.

Tweet, I love them so..



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:17 AM
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I'm from Australia and used to see a lot of sparrows,it's now uncommon to see them, (at least where i live)they are an introduced species here,I have noticed if there are Indian Myna's about you will not see sparrows,maybe the aggressive Myna has reduced the breeding of sparrows as they have done to native Australian birds



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:42 AM
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Seems to be plenty here in AR since i killed two today with my BB gun.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:51 AM
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Originally posted by lokdog
Seems to be plenty here in AR since i killed two today with my BB gun.


I hope the Aliens show you the same amount of regard !

Strange to say I thought this very same question yesterday, while washing up a sparrow landed on the fence and I was so shocked to see it that I realised the same as you. When I was little about 50 years ago, sparrows were the main birds which you saw. A couple of decades later it was starlings, but I don't see them anymore, now it is all Magpies, pigeons and seagulls ! I also have in the past, put up food for them, but the seagulls dont want birdseed !

England
edit on 11-6-2011 by Qwenn because: location



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 05:52 AM
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I saw a few sparrows a month or so ago but I heard more of them tweeting away.

Sparrows are a shy little bird preferring to be in hedgerows and bushes and I believe thats where the problem lies. As we pull out hedgerows and put in fences we destroy their habitat or push them further away from us. Also with people choosing to have a sterile garden that needs no tending i.e. decking, slabbing and a few pots with some "architectural" plants (hate that stupid term) or just having a garden with lawn or the newest fashion astroturf we push lots of birds out and hedgerow birds that we are used to seeing in the city will become fewer and fewer.

Its a problem that a lot of hedgerow birds face the world over and its sad situation.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 06:02 AM
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Still plenty of sparrows here. Also thrushes, robins, blackbirds and gold finch nesting in my garden.

But I believe generally there has been a marked decline in many songbirds in recent years in Europe. Partly down to loss of habitat. Also many migratory songbirds get trapped and killed around the Mediterranean. And there's no doubt domestic cats don't help matters.

My garden is a cat free zone - it's been nice watching young thrushes that jumped the nest before they had fully fledged, being fed by their parents on my lawn. All the youngsters are now flying.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 06:08 AM
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I live in New Brunswick ,Canada. And I remember as a kid seeing lots of sparrows entire flocks of them now it seems you're lucky just to see a handful of them. The starlings are doing well (starlings are an invasive species here).
As i understand it starlings push out the competition.,



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 06:13 AM
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No problem here either - plenty of sparrows, blackbirds etc, but I think the poster above hit upon one of the big problems in songbird decline at the present and that is the craze for fencing, decking, slabbing, gravel etc and getting rid of hedgerows, lawns and flowerbeds. Also, very very few people seem to grow vegetables and fruit in their backgardens anymore, you used to see this quite a lot years ago but hardly anyone does it now - allotments are growing in popularity and you'll probably find birds gathering around those places, but if you want birds around they have to have somewhere to nest and find food and if all you've got are concrete slabs, they just ain't gonna be there.

peace
J



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 06:15 AM
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I'm afraid the little sparrow is in decline in both gardens and the wider countryside and their recent declines have earned them a place on the Red List. I am in rural Norfolk and have a troup of 12 in my garden, that used to be hundreds. Their gleeful chitter is a joy to hear. So don't shoot them! In a few years they could be gone unless we do something to help them.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 06:38 AM
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reply to post by skjalddis
 


Pefect advice here. If you do everything suggested here we can stop the decline in birds, animals and insects. Our village is one of the few that still has the British Swallowtail Butterfly.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 07:30 AM
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Sparrows are in decline all over Europe. I believe the sparrows you are missing are house sparrows, which are common in an urban environment (in Serbia live 5 species of sparrows).

Here is a a link to a British doctor thesis in which a similar decline is analyzed. Kate Vincent found that chicks often starve to death, and fledging birds often possess low body masses. This malnutrition is perhaps a result of the low availability of invertebrate prey in urban environments.


The data presented in this thesis suggest that the abundance of invertebrate prey within home ranges of House Sparrows breeding within suburban and rural garden habitats limits the quantity and quality of chicks raised to fledging. The combined effects of relatively high rates of chick starvation and low body masses at fledging (and consequently low post-fledging survival) observed in suburban localities are large enough to result in rapid population declines. Invertebrate abundance in suburban areas is probably determined, at least in part, by the availability of suitable habitat including native deciduous shrubbery, tress and grassland. Although there is no evidence that the abundance of key invertebrate prey have declined in urban-suburban landscapes, such declines do provide a plausible mechanism for the observed declines in urban-suburban House Sparrow populations. Management techniques, which increase densities of key invertebrate prey during summer, have the potential to increase the annual productivity and possibly the breeding densities of House Sparrows in urban-suburban landscapes.


www.katevincent.org...

complete thesis
www.katevincent.org...

After Kate Vincent other hypothesis are:

Predation by cats, corvids or Sparrowhawks
Competition from other seed-eating birds such as pigeons and doves
Lack of nest site
Disease
Lack of seed food during the winter
Environmental pollutants

Here in Germany we have a similar decline of sparrows (both house sparrows and eurasian tree sparrows). In the agrarian landscape the intensification of agricultural methods have reduced the food quality for sparrows. The average biomass of invertebrates has been reduced in the last decades.

Larger fields have replaced smaller parcels and the amount of hedgerows and weeded field margins have decreased. Hedges and weeds are important. They are a source for food in the form of seeds and more invertebrates. They are also used as nesting sites.
edit on 11-6-2011 by Drunkenshrew because: grammar



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 08:01 AM
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Here are more reasons, why sparrows are in decline (loosely translated from the German Wikipedia entry)

Modern refurbished buildings offer less niches and cavities for nesting sites

More efficient harvesters leave less usable seeds as food on the fields.

Hardly any farm animals are fed outside of stables. Farm animals are a source for invertebrates. Many invertebrates use dung as habitat. When farm animals are fed outside, part of their food is stolen by sparrows.

(AFAIK, the largest sparrow population in my home town lives in the zoological garden. I have observed the sparrows stealing food from exotic animals)

More pesticides reduces the availability of invertebrate food.

In the urban environment open areas have vanished or have been sealed under concrete. Furthermore invasive species replace more and more indigenous plants species.

de.wikipedia.org...



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 08:14 AM
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There is a few that hang out at a local gas station a few miles from my house. I see them there every morning on my way to work. They seem to find a good about of food arouond there and they are not all that afraid of people, well at least one is not that is. A few weeks back one landed on my truck door. I was eating a sandwich I had got in the store and it seemed to want a bit of it. I tore of a bit of bread and gave it to the little thing and as it flow off was thinking "Wow, never had that happen before"



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 08:40 AM
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It wouldn't bother me to see the English House Sparrow disappear here in the U.S. They are not native and compete with our finches. They spread disease and in my opinion are ugly and unwanted. Starlings can die off too, and North America would be a better place for our native birds. Disappearing in Europe though, that sounds like a warning, the "canary in the coal mine" so to speak. A sign our environment is in trouble.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 08:46 AM
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reply to post by Qwenn
 


I have noticed the rise in number of Magpies, Crows and also Collared Doves in Belgrade.
Thanks for your reply.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 08:54 AM
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reply to post by Ficargul
 


You are absolutely having a point. It is happening around the world and is affecting the ecosystem. Same thing happening with Belgrade. I guess "civilisation" is taking its toll.



posted on Jun, 11 2011 @ 09:04 AM
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Originally posted by lokdog
Seems to be plenty here in AR since i killed two today with my BB gun.




Plenty of sparrows where I live. Also thrushes, blackbirds, magpies, wood pigeons, and a pair of little robins nesting in my yard



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