Sunday, 23 February 2014

Where have the sparrows gone?

I had lunch yesterday in a small patch of green. As I sat down to eat my sandwich, a few dozen pigeons strutted around, eyeing me hopefully. And I thought, where are the sparrows?

Fifty years ago, in the same situation, you would have seen several dozen sparrows, and a few pigeons. Today, not a single sparrow.

So I consulted Google.

In Kensington Gardens, they've been counting birds.

1925    2603 sparrows
1948    885
1975    544
1995    81
2000    8

So it isn't just my impression, there has been a catastrophic decline in the London sparrow population.

More Googling, revealed that no-one knows why this has happened. Furthermore, no-one, except birders, seem to be at all concerned.

I'm concerned. The cockney sparrow, is part of my heritage; I'm a cockney, born within the sound of Bow Bells, and when I'm relating a story, I often drop into the cockney way of speaking (which isn't merely rhyming slang). And if the cockney sparrow is brown bread, I'm gutted.

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