2004 saw the launch of Operation Tree Sparrow in the north-west of England. A project designed to halt the decline of this once-common farmland bird. Between 1970 and 2006, its numbers had dropped by a massive 93 per cent.
The project looked at 11 areas where this bird was known to be holding its own and invited farmers in those areas to join us and help reverse the tree sparrow's fortunes.
Since then RSPB staff and volunteers have worked with these farmers providing seed for winter feeding stations and nestboxes and many farmers have gone on to do more through the stewardship schemes.
Participating farms and farms in the wider hotspot areas have received RSPB advice on how to deliver longer term beneficial land management for tree sparrows and other farmland birds. They also received information as to how the Natural England 'Environmental Stewardship Scheme' can help fund this land management. Many of the farms are now providing habitats through this scheme which will provide winter and summer food for tree sparrows.
Volunteers have been helping put out food, and have been undertaking monitoring on the farms.