Saturday, 25 June 2011


Beddington Tree Sparrows feeding on White Millet (Sponsored by CJ WildBird Foods)

Tree Sparrows fitted with red rings (look out for these birds in the vicinity of Beddington)

Beddington is famous for its population of Tree Sparrows- one of the last strongholds for this species in the UK. The Beddington Tree Sparrows benefit from the natural seed rich vegetation on site (and also supplementary feed) and on good years we can get nearly 1000 young raised. However surprisingly the population is under threat but.... how can that be with such a huge breeding success?

The reason for this is that Tree Sparrows naturally disperse from their breeding areas to form flocks in the countryside for the winter. However, our countryside has witnessed a decline of up to 80% in farmland birds due to intensive agriculture and the associated use of chemicals killing the majority of the insect life and seed rich vegetation- which the birds feed on. Basically the birds are starving to death in winter in the British (or even wider) Countryside (along with a lot of our other nation's most familiar birds). What was once a natural haven for wildlife is now in many ways a sinister huge green graveyard.

The London Tree Sparrow Partnership (led by the RSPB) has been set up to try and set up some new feeders for our Tree Sparrows in the surrounding countryside- in the hope that a few birds might find these feeders when they disperse. Birds are also being fitted with red rings so that if they are seen outside Beddington they can be recognised as Beddington birds- this will also provide information on the dispersal pattern of these birds.

Our main aim is to try and keep the birds on site during the winter so we have set up many more feeders and are providing supplementary winter feeds. However old habits die hard and the natural instinct within these birds is for them to disperse- an instinct which worked well for 100s of years but now that habit is killing them. However some birds do stay on site for the winter and it is our aim to build up this winter population - which is the best hope these birds have.

More on the project here:

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