House sparrows are not pests
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The cheeky house sparrow has undergone a drastic population decline in the UK during the last 25 years. In the east of England, for example, there has been a startling fall in numbers of 90% since 1970. Since 2003 the sparrow has been Included in the Birds of Conservation Concern Red List (high conservation concern).
So it’s just a little bit disappointing to see the dismally search-engine-optimised website Pest Control UK has a whole page on how to eliminate the little chirpers – complete with a winsome little picture of a handsome cock sparrow, in case you really did think they were some monsters pecking the eyes out of baby rabbits or something. To be fair, Pest Control UK are not advocating destroying sparrows, but they do encourage prevention of ingress to buildings – fair enough; and scaring sparrows off their nests – probably illegal. Sparrows are not pests, and you shouldn’t undertake pest control measures against them. They need our help if anything, especially when breeding. Give the sparrows a break.
8 thoughts on “House sparrows are not pests”
The House Sparrow is certainly a pest in my garden! In the last three weeks they have decimated the flower buds on the wisteria, stripped all the new leaf growth on the buddleas, and have now started on the wallflower blossoms. If they were taking them for food I would have some tolerance, but they just throw their pickings onto the ground!
As for being in decline, we have many more sparrows than even three years ago, and they chase off most of the other song birds; only starlings and blackbirds ignore them…
I distinctly remember lots of house sparrows in the London suburb I lived in as a child, but virtually none there 10 years later (sill don’t see any when I visit now). I’m pleased to say we have some happily nesting nearby our current house. Noisy neighbours maybe, but pest, no way. Leave them alone!
If they are nesting now then they are 100% protected, no vagueness at all. Once the nests are no longer in use it will be legal to destroy the nests.
Our neighbour wishes to remove a hedge where sparrows are currently nesting, and where they live throughout the year. Does anyone know whether the red listing they have, afford them any protection from having their home destroyed?
The wildlife act seems to be qite vague about this. Any ideas gratefully received!
We have house sparrows nesting within the porch overhang outside our front door and we think they are truly wonderful. The same family of birds have been there for the past 3 years even through the winter. We did take steps to ensure that they could not ingress further into the structure of the house and there have been no problems there.
We wanted to renovate the place where they are living but will not do so until they have moved out, which may well be never. I think they are quite comfortable in there.
Keeping the local cats away however is a bit more of a task, can’t say I’ve seen one of the birds caught by a cat, I think they taunt them:-)
Fancy sparrows being over your side too! I’m glad they are doing well somewhere – although imports are rarely a good thing for the local species. But don’t bother sending your visitors back, thanks – it’s habitat and food we’re short of because we’ve been busy tidying it up the last few decades. If we had a bit more of that the sparrows could reproduce fast enough to recover their number in just a few seasons. As it is if we imported more sparrows they’d simply starve to death.
That is too bad that the house sparrow is in decline in the UK, because in the US it is booming. It is not protected in the US and I suppose over here some folks might consider it a pest, I do not. I wonder if we could export some back to the home country to help you out.
That really is an awful site – I notice that honey bees are also listed as pest species (especially ‘feral honey bees’, whatever they may be), the hornet is ‘a rare visitor to Britain’, and our fauna appears to have lost a few species – apparently we only have 2 species of ant, 2 species of weevil, and 8 beetles. Anobium punctatum, the woodworm, is described as ‘associated with timber’, without actually mentioning the term ‘woodworm’ anywhere. To be honest, it’s probably a good thing that the site is nearly impossible to find with a search engine!