The Tree Sparrows of Millichen
Tree Sparrows are quite a rare species around Glasgow, with a 93% drop in their UK population in the last 50 years, they are on the conservation red list of species that need severe help in order to survive. There is however a small population living on farmland to the north of the city. In 2005 a project was started to put up nest boxes for the Tree Sparrows to nest in. Over the past few years these boxes have fallen into a state of disrepair, leaving the Tree sparrows with little suitable nesting habitat.
In early 2021, the group began a project to find out how birds were still breading at this site and where they go outside the breading season. 50 nest boxes were reinstated and the birds took to them almost immediately. Tree Sparrow nests are normally constructed with grass and feathers, often with a grassy roof on top, even when they are already inside a nest box.
To help identify them once they leave the nest, the birds are being fitted with a special type of ring that can be easily identified in the field. Commonly known as a Darvic, these rings are made of dark blue plastic with a three-digit alpha numeric code on them in white.
As of May 2021, at least 23 boxes have eggs in them and 57 young Tree Sparrows have been ringed. Out of these, 26 juveniles as well as 8 adults have had these special darvic rings attached to their left legs. Adult Tree Sparrows can have up to 3 broods each year and hopefully by the end of the breeding season, there will be an extra 200 young Tree Sparrows in North Glasgow.
If you see any of these birds, please report them to Paul Baker at: Pauljjbaker@gmail.com