I bumped into a small party of tree sparrows in west Gower yesterday, and was reminded that they are pretty scarce in this part of the world. There’s been a lot of discussion as to whether they’ve suffered a real decline overall in recent times, but whatever the truth, lots of effort countrywide is being put into trying to increase their numbers.
Old fields and deserted farm buildings seem to suit them, and groups of local enthusiastic birders have started nest box schemes at such places, some of which have been successful, other not so. Newton Farm is derelict, and a great many boxes have been erected, both on the old buildings, and the surrounding trees, but as yet no clear picture has emerged as to which locations the birds prefer. Numbers may be slowly increasing, but this is possibly as a result of winter grain, which has been put out for them over the last few years. This not only helps the tree sparrows survive the winter, but also other finches such as yellowhammers and reed buntings as well.