House sparrows in schools

The house sparrow – one of our commonest and most familiar birds – has declined by two thirds since 1970.

The ‘House Sparrows in Schools Project’ supported by Restore Our Planet had four main aims: To raise awareness in schools of the importance of house sparrow populations and make links to the wider issues of decline in familiar countryside birds; to involve children in a practical conservation project in school grounds; to deliver practical conservation measures to sustain house sparrow populations; and to pilot a summer House Sparrow breeding survey.

50 primary schools across East Anglia were provided with nest boxes, and free food for 3 years. They were also provided with I’m in Trouble information packs and a fun assembly presentation. Restore fully funded the nest boxes, bird tables and school mailing.

Tree Sparrow Recovery Project

The tree sparrow is one of the farmland bird species which has showed the most severe declines. According to data from the common birds census collected by the British Trust for Ornithology, this species saw a 90% decline in the UK since 1970, though numbers have begun rising in recent years.

While we work with farmers to provide more food and nesting habitats naturally in the wider countryside, there is evidence to suggest that feeding and the provision of nestboxes can help to sustain tree sparrow populations. To this end, Restore Our Planet supported the RSPB’s ‘Tree Sparrow Recovery Project’ in East Anglia to provide nest boxes and supplementary feeding for tree sparrows across fifteen sites to help sparrow populations across the region.

Swangey Fen SSS

Swangey Fen is an ancient wet woodland site of special scientific Interest at Attleborough, Norfolk on the banks of the river Thet, an area regularly visited by Otters. The Otter Trust have restored and maintained this site. Over the years areas of open fen have been colonised by Alder, Ash, Birch, and Sallow, blocking the light and drying out the peat.

The aim of the management program is to restore the open fen conditions from over 100 years ago, when peat was dug and wood removed to provide fuel for the poor of the area, reed was cut to provide animal bedding, and in the resultant wet, low nutrient peat and good light rushes, orchids, and many different sedges thrived. Shallow ponds typical of those left by ancient peat digging, are dug to further increase biodiversity.

The wealth of other wildlife especially birds, plants and invertebrates includes both roe and red deer. In order to maintain the 47 acre site the fen areas need to be mown and raked at least once every two years.

Restore Our Planet funded the purchase of a rotary mower and brushcutters and power-rake to help the Otter Trust in this work.