The 2024 tree sparrow season so far

Tree sparrows are a farmland bird and a focal species for us here at WWT Caerlaverock. Their numbers have declined over the last few decades due to the intensification of farming causing them to become a red listed species. They lack the sexual dimorphism found in many bird species and so males and females are both identified by chestnut-brown heads and a black cheek spot.

Here, they are not rare to see. Through the hard work of the reserve team, their population at Caerlaverock has gradually been increasing. With tree sparrows at the center of our farmland bird project we have built and put up nestboxes across the reserve. Six new colonies were added this year so we now have 70 tree sparrow boxes on site!

The reserve team and volunteers monitor these boxes weekly through visual and physical checks in the breeding season. So far this year 26 boxes have been successfully used by tree sparrows, three more than last year. The first brood has produced 59 fledglings which again is an increase compared to last year by 14 chicks!

It's great to see the hard work paying off and we are excited to see the (hopefully!) continued success of these birds.

Words by Ed (Emily) Dixon

Feature image of tree sparrow by Marianne Nicholson

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