Monitoring methods

Monitoring for tree sparrows – most sightings of tree sparrows will come from seeing them on bird feeders or using nest boxes as these are fixed points that we will all focus on.

The birds obviously use the wider landscape so trying to monitor them in likely areas is useful for ‘filling in potential blanks’ in our understanding of their distribution locally.

Linear monitoring walks are a good way of exploring likely habitat and are a great way to discover more about an area.

Aim :- explore areas of likely habitat (see the habitat page) looking for tree sparrows and record observations both positive and negative.

Methods :- start from a known tree sparrow location and work out from there along routes through likely habitat and/or select likely tree sparrow habitats and walk routes through potential habitat.

Look for tree sparrows and listen for their calls – these are available on websites and bird apps.

Even when you know that birds are present i.e. using a nest box it can still take time and patience to see them – just walking a route does not mean that there aren’t any birds in the area.

Record the number of tree sparrows, the location, the habitat, the activity (feeding, drinking, nesting etc.), date, time, weather and other bird species if possible especially if they are in the same location as tree sparrows and/or interacting with tree sparrows.

Get photographs if at all possible.

Record the route you take, preferably with a grid reference for the start and finish (and grid references for any tree sparrows found) or a clear description of the start and end.

Record how long you are on the route and remember that recording the fact that there were no birds is as important as recording if there were!

What to do with the information :-

  1. Send your records to iSpot, Birdtrack or to Mark Hewitt.
  2. Please send the details of your route as outlined above to Mark Hewitt.
  3. Send in records/details even if there were no tree sparrows.

If a monitoring route is not practical but you have a location that you think might be a potential tree sparrow site then you could just monitor the fixed location – use the details above to record the information about your visit and return to Mark Hewitt.

Wharfedale in Yorkshire is a valley favoured by nature and enriched by romance. From 'Wharfedale' by Ella Pontefract & Marie Hartley

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