For about ten years now we have been maintaining a feed station at Pitsford Res situated at the end of the Old Scaldwell Road and close to the Maytrees Hide. This feed station is managed all year round for a number of species but with a particular leaning towards the Tree Sparrow. This project and others like it seem to indicate that this species tends to be able to maintain a healthy population if there are adequate nesting sites and there is appropriate food provision (both insectivorous for nestlings and seeds/grain for fledged birds). At Pitsford we have provided nestboxes and provide a mixture of coarse and fine seed types. Nestlings and juveniles benefit from hatching damselflies and other insects around the water's edge.
This year the nestboxes were used successfully for the first broods but the second broods didn't really materialise. Dave Francis supported by John Kempster and Neil Hasdell has completed two ringing sessions during the last three weeks at the feed station to try and provide further information. Tree Sparrows totalled 46 birds, all which were juveniles and many were likely to have come from late broods (they can have as many as four broods but 2-3 is more the norm). Like many other species it seems that the late broods may have saved the day in respect of species reproduction and resilience for this year.
Juveniles and adults of Tree and House Sparrows undertake a complete moult at this time of the year so it was particularly important that we captured our juveniles now whilst we could age them as this year's birds!
In total 110 different birds of a variety of species were captured and processed during these two sessions, indicating that it isn't just the Tree Sparrows that are benefiting from the feed station.