Friday 21 November 2008


Time to catch up on yesterday's big story - the sorry plight of the house sparrow, driven out of our gardens by decking mania, tree felling, paving, planting of such exotica as the accursed cupressus leylandii, and altogether doing far too much weeding, cutting back and sprucing up (though there's nothing wrong with spruce). The lazy gardener is now the hero of the hour - which is fine by me, as my own approach is precisely that: minimal weeding, cutting back and pruning, maximum shrubby cover and few unfriendly exotics. And of course absolutely no decking or paving where plant cover should be. The local sparrows, duly grateful, are currently the most numerous visitors to my bird feeder, and I'm very glad to see them.
But wait a minute, the more Oddistic among you, will be saying - that picture isn't a house sparrow (passer domesticus), it's a tree sparrow (passer montanus). Correct - it is - and happily I have a colony of these delightful little birds close to where I live. The unfortunate tree sparrow has suffered more than its relative in recent years, declining by 50 per cent. In fact it is now on the red list of endangered species. Let's hope the house sparrow doesn't go the same way...


  1. The clue wouldn't lie in the fact that the little critter is perched in a tree as opposed to on a house, would it Nige.
    Oddwold would have course spotted the error instantly, and known the birds name to boot.
    Our only local spuggy is the ever present Dunnock, tough as old boots and will eat anything, couldn't care less whether they stand on grass or B&Q decking.
    Isn't the word philosophy highly inflammatory?

    PS, A book that should be read by everyone..The Plan by Douglas Carswell and Daniel Hannan, available from
    Explains and offers a way out of our present predicament, with crystal clarity.
    The use of Iceland as an example has to be ignored however.

  2. 'Oddistic'

    What a wonderful word that honours a truly great man. I'll be sure to help it enter into common usage. After that, I wish I had something intelligent to say about sparrows. I have seen far fewer of them since our B&Q decking loving neighbours forced us to chop down some trees at the bottom of the garden. My friendly collared doves have gone too, though we are now overwhelmed by magpie.

  3. I don't know where the affliction of decking came from. People spend thousands on it. Pretty well the only thing a modern deck lacks is a trap door or block since this construction used to be known as a scaffold. Folks would hurry past it rather than loll around on it playing with their Iphone and tempting fate. Hardly any sparrows tempting fate around here alas, but that's a lovely pic.

  4. I love that photo. I have a bunch of the cute birds on my feeder at this very moment. I love to see the birds gather there, but periodically I have to heave sticks at the enormous gray squirrel who has figured out how to get around this "squirrel-proof" feeder. It involves gymnastics like you've never seen and his ability to cling to tree bark by simply his back toes while stretching out a foot to reach the feeder. This squirrel should be in the circus.