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Endangered house sparrows thrown a lifeline at Waterlow Park

PUBLISHED: 17:01 06 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:21 07 September 2010

Camden s house sparrows are being thrown a lifeline thanks to a new partnership between the RSPB and Camden Council. House sparrows should be the UK s most common garden bird, but in Camden, the birds have slipped down to eighth place in the annual Big Ga

Camden's house sparrows are being thrown a lifeline thanks to a new partnership

between the RSPB and Camden Council.

House sparrows should be the UK's most common garden bird, but in Camden, the

birds have slipped down to eighth place in the annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Waterlow Park should be a prime site for these small brown and grey birds, yet

they're sadly lacking.

Camden Council's one of eight partners from across Greater London who've

allowed some land in public parks to be used as part of a new RSPB study. Previous

research has found that sparrows are starving to death because naturally occurring

food is in short supply. This new study aims to restore nature's larder.

The £170,000 SITA Trust funded research project will be comparing how specially

selected seed mixes help boost insect and seed availability over the next three years.

House Sparrow Parks Research scientist Jacqueline Weir said: "House sparrow

numbers have fallen alarmingly. We know house sparrows need a high protein diet

when fledging and carbohydrate rich food when older. We'll be growing three

different seed mixes at twenty locations around Greater London. In Camden, we

have two test plots in Waterlow Park. Others nearby include a site on Hampstead

Heath and another on Primrose Hill. It's great to be working with Camden Council

and the Friends of Waterlow Park. With volunteer support we'll be monitoring the

sites and assessing the impact the different mixes have on sparrows, insects and

other wildlife."

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