Tree Sparrows

The Claro Tree Sparrow Project, North Yorkshire, UK

How much has the Tree Sparrow declined?
Nationally over 50% in many areas in the last 40 years, and this appears to be the case in the Claro area as well.

Why is the Tree Sparrow declining?
Intensive use of agricultural chemicals, loss of hedgerows and trees, and conversion of old farm buildings have all contributed.

What can be done?
Successful work is already going on in the Claro area to replace lost hedgerows and trees, provide winter stubble and wider field edges. This will return some of the feeding and nesting areas for birds such as Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Linnet, Lapwing, Grey Partridge and Skylark, all of which previously occurred in good numbers in the Harrogate area and across the UK.  All have declined locally..

Nest box schemes and winter feeding in gardens have been shown to help Tree Sparrows considerably. Existing nest box schemes in the Ripon area are showing great success so we are aiming to create a network of over 300 nest boxes in various-sized colonies throughout the Claro area, ( roughly in a line south from Masham to Pateley Bridge to Wetherby and east from that line onto the Plain of York to the western outskirts of York ).

Tree Sparrows tend to prefer to breed in loose colonies so will happily nest in boxes near each other. The aim is to establish several larger colonies throughout the area at key sites, and also a larger number of smaller colonies to create a network, followed by careful monitoring of progress over several years. A number of key sites for larger colonies have already been identified but we are also looking for groups of Tree Sparrows visiting winter feeders.

If you have Tree Sparrows as winter visitors please do let us know as it indicates there may be a small colony nearby and we may be able to strengthen the colony with the provision of boxes in the area, even in your garden if the conditions are suitable. The project is supported by Harrogate and District Naturalists’ Society, Harrogate RSPB Group, and Harrogate Borough Council who have identified Tree Sparrow as a BAP species in need of conservation support locally.

We’ve had a barn converted, do you think we have ousted some Tree Sparrows!
Renovation of barns and farm buildings to residential and business premises does lead to loss of existing breeding sites, but let’s face it, it’s better to convert buildings than leave them to deteriorate if they can no longer be used efficiently.  The birds will probably still be in the area and as they take very readily to nest boxes you could have these attractive birds back in no time. Check the Newsletters for more information or email us for details.

How can we help with the Claro Tree Sparrow Project?

  • Tell us when you see Tree Sparrows using the sightings form.

  • Provide winter feeding if you see them in your garden

  • Provide nest boxes with a minimum 28mm entrance hole

Sign up for the Newsletter and we’ll update you with regular News on the project and the ongoing distribution maps based on local sightings!  And if you are a landowner or farmer and would like to help with a larger nest box scheme it would be great to hear from you.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Click Here To Submit Your Tree Sparrow Sightings