There has been a steady decline in the population of UK house sparrows during the last 100 years, probably since the motorcar replaced horses on our streets. Changes in farming practice have had an effect too, particularly the lack of winter stubble after a swing to autumn sown cereals and oil seed rape. But house sparrows aren't endangered here on the peninsula, my old buildings provide plenty of nest sites and the sparrows feast on food that's meant for the hens.
When I came back from holiday there must have been 50 house sparrows around the buildings and the poultry feeders, Alisdair thinks that they were eating as much as the hens. But this morning there were only five or six on the fence by the barn.. I now know why.
This afternoon I went into the old byre to check on the water supply and as I was standing there a sparrowhawk shot in through the door, flew past me at waist height and dived to the floor. It picked up a sparrow in it's talons and swerved out of the door. It was all over in about two seconds.
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