Take the ‘hedge-pledge’ this summer

Take the ‘hedge-pledge’ this summer

RSPB Scotland is calling on gardeners in Glasgow to put down their shears in an effort to save the city’s struggling house sparrows.

These once-common birds are in decline across the UK, but the population in Glasgow is thought to have dropped by 90% since the 1970s.

Since 2014, RSPB Scotland has been working with the University of Glasgow and a team of volunteers to track down remaining sparrows and investigate reasons for the sudden decline. One thing the project has uncovered is that remaining sparrow strongholds are clustered around gardens that have a particular sort of hedge.

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RSPB Scotland’s Sarah-Jayne Forster says, “Our volunteers found little groups of sparrows living in all the areas that they surveyed, which is great news as it means there’s definitely hope for a long-term recovery. But the other thing they found was that 85% of the gardens where sparrows were recorded had lots of hedges or bushes.

“It also seems that the best types of hedges are ones that aren’t cut very often, which leaves the structure more open, and gives the birds a chance to move around and hide from predators. That’s why we’re asking gardeners in Glasgow to take the hedge-pledge this summer, and avoid cutting their hedges at all between the start of March and the end of August.” As this is nesting season, hedge-cutting is an activity best left for autumn and winter anyway – advice that holds good for all hedges, not just Glaswegian ones.

Find out more at http://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/releases/437920-dont-cut-your-hedge-between-march-and-august-to-help-glasgows-house-sparrows To get involved with the house sparrow project in Glasgow, email Sarah-Jayne.Forster@rspb.org.uk You can also contact the project through the RSPB Glasgow Facebook page or Twitter @RSPBGlasgow or use #hedgepledge.

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Steve Ott

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