ABSTRACT The House Sparrow Passer domesticus population in Britain suffered a major decline in the 1920s, particularly in built-up areas, which coincided with the replacement of the horse by the internal combustion engine.The mixed fortunes of House Sparrows since then are examined, emphasising that factors operating on farmland populations differ from those in towns and cities. Farmland sparrows decreased by about 60% between 1979 and 1995, but then stabilised at a new, lower level; this decline is attributed to changes in agricultural practices.The situation with sparrows in built-up areas is much more complex, with a gradual decline until about 1990. Since then, a massive decrease has led to almost complete extinction in some urban centres, while in the suburbs and small rural towns, sparrows have decreased little, if at all. Some speculative ideas are put forward to account for the situation in built-up areas.he recent decline of the House Sparrow Passer domesticus in the United Kingdom and parts of western Europe is widely recognised (Summers-Smith 1999; Crick et al. 2002). Indeed, in December 2002, the Telegraph Magazine considered the species’ appearance on the Red List of UK endangered species (Gregory et al. 2002) as one of the notable events of theyear! This paper aims to review the present situation, recognising that there are substantial differences in what is happening in farmland, urban centres, and small rural towns and suburbs, and also between the UK and the neighbouring continental mainland. The decline of the House Sparrow in farmland parallels that of
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £70,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.