Care home help to Save the Sparrow

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Residents of a Bupa care home in Milton Keynes are calling on the local community to help reverse the decline in the UK house sparrow population by joining them in creating sparrow-friendly gardens.

Bupa has teamed up with RSPB and Highclere Nursing Home is receiving expert advice from the wildlife charity about the best ways to help boost sparrow numbers as well as other wildlife found in its garden.

‘Save the Sparrow’ is the main focus this year of Bupa’s annual Wildlife Week (7 – 13 May), a week of special activities designed to create wildlife havens in care home grounds and gardens, to benefit species that are currently in decline in Britain.

Bupa’s community and partnership manager, Siobhan Drane, said,

“Everyone enjoys seeing a cheeky sparrow in gardens, but this much loved British bird needs our help. So we’re asking everyone to join the campaign, either by offering a helping hand to our green-fingered residents or by making their own gardens more bird-friendly.”

As a result of a rapid decline in numbers in recent years, the UK house sparrow is afforded the highest conservation status. Although house sparrows are still seen in many gardens, their numbers have dropped by 55% since the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch survey began in 1979.

This decline has been mirrored in other UK surveys, so to help the breeding population, Bupa care homes are growing wildlife seed patches and placing nesting boxes in grounds and gardens.

And to help the local community get involved too, Bupa has developed an online action plan at www.bupa.co.uk/wildlifeweek, providing activity ideas that will help sparrows keep their chicks alive this summer and provide homes for future years.

Gabrielle Layzell, the RSPB’s project manager, said: “This partnership will see over 300 Bupa care homes making a real difference to the struggling house sparrow and encourage more wildlife into grounds and gardens.

“Everyone can help create the habitat that the sparrows need – planting hedges and creepers along fences, cultivating areas of long grass to forage in, offering plenty of water, and growing shrubs that attract insects for sparrows to feed on. The list is endless and we want as many people as possible to join in this campaign to help provide the right environment for the sparrow to thrive again.”

For more information about getting involved with Bupa’s Wildlife Week and the ‘Save the Sparrow’ campaign, call 0845 600 4622, email wildlifeweek@bupa.com or visit www.bupa.co.uk/wildlifeweek