The fifth annual World Sparrow Day will be celebrated this Friday, March 20th. Initiated in 2010, it’s an annual awareness-raising campaign that celebrates sparrows and emphasizes the need to protect these little birds, as well as their habitats. All around the world, bird numbers have dropped alarmingly in recent years due to habitat loss, pesticide/insecticide use, predation by pet cats, and pollution. Fiercely intelligent and friendly, sparrows are in need of our help and protection before they disappear forever.
Human interference has caused the decline and near extinction of countless bird species, and in the UK alone, House Sparrow numbers alone have dropped by 90 percent! Although some consider sparrows to be a “pest” species, as they will occasionally knock other species like bluebirds out of their nests, they are vital insect-eaters that keep ecosystems in check, and assist with pollination and habitat restoration.
How You Can Help:
- Let part of your yard or garden go wild, with tall grasses and native wildflowers
- Plant insect and caterpillar-friendly trees such as apple, oak, birch, willow and alder
- Plant flowers that attract butterflies, as they’ll lay eggs all around them, which will turn into caterpillars for the birds to eat
- Put up a couple of nesting boxes in your house’s eaves (they should be at least 2m above the ground, and placed on the north or northeast sides away from cold wind and direct sun)
- Use natural, organic means of pest control instead of harmful pesticides, as those will poison the insects in your garden and kill the birds that eat them
- Keep a bird bath full of clean water for the birds to drink from and bathe in