5 August 2006

'Treeps' and 'Yellow Wags' on the doorstep

Two classic, but sadly scare, farmland birds this morning - and both within 1.5km of my house.

In a field of sheep and horses, not far outside Radford Semele, I found my first ever patch Yellow Wagtails, three juveniles with two adults close by. They were running around in the short grass with some Pied Wagtails, sharing the rich pickings of insects drawn by animal droppings.

Closer still to my home were a party of Tree Sparrows, including a juvenile. These are charming little birds which I see only occasionally in this area.

Sadly both species have been in serious decline, probably due to changing agricultural practices. The Tree Sparrow is on the RSPB's red list for conservation concern, having declined by more than 90% since the 1980s, and the Yellow Wagtail is on the amber list with numbers having fallen by 80% over the same period.

Although these bald statistics don't tell the whole story (see here for evidence of long-term historical fluctuations in Tree Sparrow numbers, for example) I am sure it is right for us to be concerned and to see what we can do to help. This part of Warwickshire is something of a stronghold for these beleaguered species, and all of the landowners who provide suitable habitat in which the birds can live and thrive, whether intentionally or inadvertently, have my thanks.

1 comment:

Pete said...

Hi Mark

I've not seen a Tree Sparrow in Essex... EVER!!

I popped into Martin Mere earlier in the year and I was tripping over them! lovely to see.