Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It is a way of helping us to monitor wildlife across the county to gain an understanding of an animal’s distribution. Your sightings can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife and identify species in decline or under threat. To take part in this spring’s survey visit: https://www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-in-norfolk/wildlife-spotter-survey or email your records to email@example.com remembering to tell us what you saw, when you saw it, where you saw it and who you are.
The once common house sparrow is no longer so, since the 1970s rural populations have nearly halved, with a 60% decline seen in urban dwelling house sparrows.
Unfortunately this gregarious little bird is now red-listed as a species of high conservation concern. The reason for the recent rapid decline is not fully understood, although research is underway to try and determine the cause.
How to spot a house sparrow:
Females and young birds are mainly sandy brown, with back and wings with darker streaks. Adult male has grey top to head and a characteristic black ‘bib’ on chest (‘bib’ varies in prominence according to time of year).
Monitoring by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) highlights that starling numbers have fallen by 66% in Britain since the mid-1970s. The cause of the decline is unknown, but may be linked to available food source. Starlings are heavily dependent on invertebrates found in soil, such as earthworms. This food source may have declined, or be harder for the starlings to find due to dry summers.
How to spot a starling:
The starling is about the size of a thrush (19-22cm) and appears at first glance to be all black. However, a closer inspection will reveal an iridescent plumage which shines purple, gold and green when bathed in sunlight. Their legs are reddish pink and their beak is yellow.
This ‘canary’-yellow bird of the countryside has seen a serious decline since the mid-1980s. This bird has been red listed since 2002, with the UK population of yellowhammers falling by 54% between 1970 and 1998 according to data from the British Trust for Ornithology.
How to spot a yellowhammer:
The male’s bright, golden yellow head and breast together with his repetitive ‘little bit of bread and no cheese’ song is very distinctive. The female is a duller streaky-brown on the breast and has a more sombre yellow head and breast than the male.