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We've just come back from Paris and we too remarked on the number of sparrows to be seen, particularly in the gardens on the Champs de Mars. Very odd seeing as we seem to have lost most of ours.
I was in Paris two weeks ago and we stopped for a baguette in a park area close to the Champs Elysee. There were sparrows everywhere and they were so tame I was hand-feeding them. At times I had two or three trying to take bread from my hand at the same time. Very entertaining!
Every year we have had a family of blue tits nesting in our bird box which was made to blue-tit measurements given on a form collected from a visitor centre at Tockholes whilst out walking. This year the sparrows have pecked at the hole and made it bigger and are now nesting there. We are looking forward to the new family taking residence in our garden. We have never seen as many sparrows as this year.
I've had the same experience in Paris - huge numbers of sparows!

What is even more perplexing is the variable fortunes of sparrows in the UK - severe decline in London and the South East contrasted by equally strong growth in the West (up 92% in ten years in Wales). Despite a lot of research we still cant come up with a satisfactory reason why, though housing upgrades, unleaded petrol and agricultural change are all possible factors.

I live in surrey near Redhill, there is a garden with an overgrown hedge walking past you can hear the continual chattering of sparrows, so more over grown hedges may be needed to accommodate these little birds.


That walk-way in Paris is beautiful, and sparrows are more plentiful there. We visit usually twice a year and have coffee/hot chocolate at Les Phares on Bastille sitting outside of course. There are always sparrows hopping about under the tables.However I was most interested to read about the lack of eaves affecting sparrow populations.

I live in Bristol and over the years have become aware of their decline. But for the last six years as I have walked along a road in south Bristol I have heard the chirping and cheeping of sparrows; the only place I ever hear them. I too came to the conclusion that the eaves must have something to do with it as well as the privet hedges in the front gardens of most of these houses. The houses late 1920's local authority housing, much of which has not been externally modernised to a great extent.

I would be interested to know if the eaves alone and/or the privet makes a difference to the few existing sparrow communities we have.

We visited this same Paris park in the middle of April, having read about it in a guide book. We too heard and saw plenty of small birds and also the men who were giving the plants their manicure. It was hard to believe we were 3 minutes from Bastille!
I too was recently in Paris and watched the sparrows at various sites. I missed out on walking the Promenade Plantee so it was good to hear about it. Certainly worth a visit on my next trip. The dearth of sparrows is a great concern to me and I am sure, as with many birds, it is loss of habitat. Garden hedges are too often ripped out and replaced by fencing - not everyone realizes that hedges are not only possible nesting sites (for all sorts of birds) but the best refuge from predators. This coupled with the trends for hiding eaves with plastic soffits etc and lack of nesting sites in new builds all adds up to the garden bird, especially house sparrow, decline.
I live in a quite leafy area of Oxford with lots of trees an d bushes for cover. There is a 'wild life corridor of gardens attached to the terrace housing .My garden attracts many birds including up to 6 house sparrows at a time and I put out seed etc. We are also invaded by squirrels who cannot get at the squirrel proof feeders. A week ago I was regretting that the squirrels seemed to have gobbled up most of the ground seed on the path so was pleased to see two sparrows pecking at remaining seed just one foot from my glass paned kitchen door. Suddenly I saw what seemed like a female blackbird on top of one of the sparrows. It had the same colour..But it was far too big. then this bird flew off with the sparrow in its claws. I now fully believe my neighbour who claimed months ago to have seen a sparrow hawk on my fence. thus the name has an accurate sense.
Usually in my garden we have lots of little sparrows. I feed them all year round as they are my favourite bird in the garden. Unfortunately a sparrow hawk has noticed this and the numbers have dramatically fallen, also we have ferral cats which are not helping. Can anyone let me know of a good deterrant for cats in the garden. Have tried everything.
I have a cat but do feed the birds and have counted 16 different types visiting my backyard over the past couple of years. I don't have a garden just a backyard and I hang fat candles and bird feeders from my washing line and the cat simply can't get the birds and neither can the squirrels. I am lucky because there are lots of low bushes outside my wall which backs onto a churchyard and these low evergreens provide safe haven for the birds. I have been known to put my cat into a cattery when youngsters have fledged in summer to avoid the cat getting them and have recently counted up to 20 sparrows in the bushes 6 feet from my kitchen window. As Barbara said too many hedges are being ripped out just like too many gardens are being turned over to hard landscaping. One of the highlights of last week in Paris was feeding the sparrows outside Notre Dame.
I agree with you about the numbers of sparrows in Paris. Some years ago on a visit our family walked out of the Notre Dame Cathedral when I heard this loud chattering noise and discovered in the raised beds in front of the cathedral, planted with lavender, hundreds of sparrows. It was fascinating to watch them as I'd never seen so many in one place in the UK. And yet as a child in the 1950s, the sparrow was our most common garden bird.

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