Creating tree sparrow villages on Warwickshire farms

Credit Fergus Gill 2020Vision 

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has secured a grant for £17,380 from Severn Trent’s ‘Boost for Biodiversity Fund’ to support the delivery of an exciting new project!

We will create ‘Tree sparrow villages’ on 11 farms within the Arden Farm Wildlife Network which was established by the Wildlife Trust back in April 2018.  The network brings together farmers from across our area to share best practice on how to make space for nature whilst still producing high quality food for people to eat.  The farmers are making changes to improve their farms for wildlife and this funding helps to accelerate that.

Tree sparrows are a rarer cousin of the house sparrow which is more often encountered in our towns and cities.  As tree sparrows nest in colonies they need nesting boxes in groups and enough food to support a number of birds.  Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will be working with farmers to sow wild flower seed mixes on their farms.  These flowers will provide pollen and nectar for insects and seeds, both of which are a key part of a tree sparrows diet. The funds also support the provision of supplementary feed, similar to how people feed birds in their garden – but on a much bigger scale!  This will help provide enough food for the tree sparrows over the cold winter months when many struggle to find enough food.  The seed provided over the winter will also help a range of other farmland bird species, many of which are also in decline.

Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said “We are delighted to secure this grant from Severn Trent.  The funding provides a life line for tree sparrows in Warwickshire as their numbers have crashed over the last few decades.  The project will create 11 hectares of new wild bird seed habitat and 5 hectares of pollen and nectar seed mix. So as well as helping tree sparrows we will also be able to help a range of other species that are threatened in Warwickshire.  We are really pleased that the farmers we are working with are so passionate about helping to conserve wildlife in our area. ”

Zara Turtle, Catchment Partnership Coordinator, Severn Trent “The aim of the Boost for Biodiversity fund was to encourage the improvement of habitats for wildlife across our region. The variety of projects submitted was fantastic and it was really hard to pick out the top applications. I’m really looking forward to seeing the Tree Sparrow Villages project come to life!”