All Things Wild

House Sparrows and Us (with Harry Munt)

December 23, 2021 Martin Season 1 Episode 33
All Things Wild
House Sparrows and Us (with Harry Munt)
Show Notes

With all the crazy stress and noise that daily life has been throwing at us lately, we all need to get outside into nature to relax and unwind. A great way to do that from the comfort of your own home is to get into Birding, get an identification guide and try find out what types of birds visit your garden or that you see in daily life. One type that you will definitely find is the House Sparrow and despite being the most common bird around, their numbers are declining massively! 

Today’s episode is with Harry Munt, a passionate birder and a student of wildlife management, who has set up a group that aims to stop the decline of House Sparrows in modern and urban environments. There are well over a billion individual birds that cover the earth and are the most common bird most people see, yet their numbers are dropping fast! They have a hidden link with humans, some of the first human remains being found with Sparrow bones shows a species long connection with humankind. They also play a big part in controlling pests and diseases, the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 is the perfect example of the importance these birds play and why it is so important that they are able to survive and continue into the future. You can find out more about Harry’s work on or on Instagram or Twitter with the handle @save_the_house_sparrows. 

Enjoy the episode and let us know what you think of it! Do you see many House Sparrows where you live? 

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00:11 Intro 

03:00 Welcome to the show! Tell us about House Sparrows and your organization 05:39 House Sparrows in North America and how they spread 

08:16 They are very social but get aggressive 

10:25 Social structure 

14:12 Hierarchy 

17:33 Intelligence 

21:08 Diet 

22:25 Do they mate for life? 

24:07 They use beneficial plants 

25:50 The origins of House Sparrows and how they spread all over the world 29:44 Pest control and the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-1961 

36:17 European House Sparrows 

39:30 Why they are in decline 

40:47 Mining with birds 

42:58 Bugs don’t hit your windshield anymore 

46:06 Urban and modern issues 

48:13 Hedges are great for House Sparrows 

49:49 Sparrow Hawks 

53:40 Cats 

55:48 Predators keep the population healthy 

57:15 How you can stop your cats killing birds 

59:10 What do Sparrows talk about when they sing and shout? 

01:03:12 What things is your organization doing? 

01:08:55 What law changes would you like to see? 

01:11:00 What can we as the public do?

01:12:40 How to put up birdboxes 01:17:50 How can people reach you? 01:21:44 Thanks Harry!