Monday, January 30, 2006

A House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus) in our garden

I love birds and watching them, but sadly we have probably the worst garden in Britain for birds. It is small and backs onto a small industrial estate in which there is often an ice cream warehouse and, sometimes, invisibly, a Ferrari. A reasonable species total for a typical suburban garden may range, I would say, between 20 and 30, but in 2.5 years, I have seen a mere 6 kinds of birds in our garden: a few house sparrows, a robin (maybe a couple of times), a wren (once), a pair of great tits (once), some long-tailed tits (once) and (very incredibly) a grey wagtail!!! - the latter when we had no grass on our lawn. We could have joined in the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch but I haven't seen a single bird in the back garden for months (since October 28th to be precise!)

The front garden is even smaller, and has only recently had a few birds when we have put some seed balls out. The photo shows a brave house sparrow in our bush (the house that is visible is a neighbour's) . And to our great joy, two blue tits joined in for a few minutes about a week ago!!

"Birds in our street" would probably be up around the 25-30 mark. There have been mistle thrushes occasionally, and even a linnet and a willow tit have made appearances! Slightly further afield, sparrowhawks can be seen every now and then zooming across the estate and, most special of all, I found a solitary waxwing last winter in a small tree within shouting distance of our house. Only the fourth time I've ever seen a waxwing.

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