Thursday, 20 November 2008

Sparrow numbers 'plummet by 68%'

In a report issued by the RSPB reported on the BBC site today, the plummeting numbers of House Sparrows has been confirmed.
To help them, it suggests that gardeners can help by "being lazy, doing nothing and allowing the garden to be a little bit scruffy". Hey, I'm doing my best.

It may be, of course, that they have emigrated to Canada and the USA.

On the RSPB site itself, there is a hint that mixing nuts with chilli powder keeps squirrels away.

This might have this effect.


Serena B (Simon's sister) said...

A friend of mine followed the RSPB's advice and spiced up the sunflower seeds she put out but found that the birds wouldn't touch the doctored seeds.

She's now going to try the approach I'm using, which is to grease the tube (but not the perches) of the seed feeder with vaseline. I haven't seen a squirrel on my feeders since doing this, although I did see one try to grab the niger feeder and let go very quickly, with a disgusted look on its face!

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the info Serena!
I'll try that, and report back.

Mary said...

Maybe that is why I have so many of your House Sparrows....a very scruffy garden! LOL at the video! I will have to play that for "the Star" and see if he can learn to dance like that.

NW Nature Nut said...

Are they thinking of coming to the US and getting them? I think most birders would be alright with exporting them back to Europe!

We sell "Cole's Hot Meats" at the wild bird store where I work and they work well. We now have regular customers who purchase them. They are sunflower hearts soaked in hot pepper and safflower oil. They are HOT.

My preferred anti-squirrel method is a sheperd's hook with a baffle on it. The black cone shapped ones do the job! That video was a hoot.

Warren Baker said...

like that video steve, made me laugh!

Rambling Woods said...

Be careful with the chili. It may cause problems for the bird if they get it up their nose or in their eyes.

Never use vaseline on anything as it is very toxic to all wildlife.

Rambling Woods Has Moved Here

Rambling Woods said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rambling Woods said...

Sorry, I didn't finish my thought. There are better ways to keep squirrels away using baffles, weight sensitive feeders or distance. Putting vaseline on anything is a toxic danger to the squirrels and to the birds who may come into contact with it. The only way to remove it is to ingest it and it is a poison. My friend who is a wildlife rehabber has had squirrels in who were covered in grease and sick and dying. She warns that any bird who brushes up against it will also get coated and die. I have heard of people trying to coat the hanging wire, but this is the first time I have ever heard of someone coating a feeder. Please pass this information along.

Rambling Woods Has Moved Here

Kingsdowner said...

Many thanks for the input, Rambler - it shows what pests the grey squirrels are, that we try so many ways to keep them off the feeders (and still fail!)

Serena said...

Thanks for the warning about the vaseline - I had been told it wouldn't hurt either squirrel or birds. I'll change my feeders over for clean ones.

Anonymous said...

Hi. kingsdowner
I have picked your brain once before and would like to pick it once again.
What sort of camera should I have bought to enable me to photograph birds in our two acre field.
I bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ18 but I don't think it is quite right.

Kingsdowner said...

Hi Flyntlander,
I've got the FZ18 and I'd recommend it for general use - it's a good all-rounder.
To get any more magnification you have to have a long lens and an SLR body, and that means much more money - you get what you pay for, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kingsdowner
Thank you for your reply.
I feel encouraged. The 'much more money' bit is not an option so I will ask the birds to come a bit closer.