Swindon garden centre teams up with RSPB to help save House Sparrow population

By Jessica Durston - 19 April 2023

BusinessHome and GardenCommunity
  • The House Sparrow

    The House Sparrow

Dobbies' Swindon garden centre, in partnership with RSPB is encouraging customers to welcome declining bird species into their gardens.

The UK’s leading garden centre, Dobbies, has teamed up with the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, the RSPB, to educate its customers in Swindon on the declining House Sparrow population this May.

The garden centre are encouraging individuals to do their part to welcome this bird species into their gardens.

During the month of May, RSPB volunteers will be raising awareness and collecting donations across a number of Dobbies’ stores while offering the opportunity for members of the public to sign up to become an RSPB member.

Since the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979, encouraging people to count birds for an hour in January, the House Sparrow's population has gone from an average of 10 visitors per garden to only about four in 2022.

Although house sparrows topped the Big Garden Birdwatch for the 19th year in a row in 2022, their population is said to have declined so drastically that they are now on the UK Red List for birds, and experts say any further declines would be disastrous.

As part of this campaign, Dobbies’ Swindon store will host a Little Seedlings Club workshop on Sunday 7 May. This workshop will be suitable for kids aged 4-10 years old.

Children attending will learn about the official Red List and the House Sparrow, as well as some helpful tips on how to encourage more of this species into their gardens.

Dobbies’ Community and CSR Communications Executive, Chloe Bell, explained: “Our Little Seedlings Club attendees are the next generation of gardening enthusiasts and this awareness workshop with RSPB at our Swindon store is extremely important when it comes to helping rescue the House Sparrow.  

“I have fond memories as a child listening to the House Sparrows as I watched them fly about the garden and we want the younger generation to experience this too. You can help these birds by planting trees, shrubs and flowers in the garden, a place for the house sparrow to take shelter, forage for insects to feed their chicks, and ultimately help increase the population.”

Adrian Thomas, the RSPB’s wildlife gardening expert, added: “We are really looking forward to working with Dobbies to spread the word about these wonderful garden birds, and how people can help them. They’re great fun for kids to learn about too – House Sparrows are delightfully sociable and chattery and they really benefit when we give them the food, water, and home they need. It shows how little actions can really make a difference to our local wildlife.”

Dobbies’ latest podcast with Adrian Thomas talks about the House Sparrow, where podcast host, ITV This Morning’s Daisy Payne, asks how we can create a welcoming environment in our gardens to help increase population numbers.

The episode is available to listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, at dobbies.com/podcast.

Advance booking is required to secure a free spot at Dobbies’ May Little Seedlings Club session at its Swindon store. For more information on how children can participate, those interested can visit, dobbies.com/little-seedlings

Customers looking to encourage house sparrows to visit their garden can also pick up RSPB-branded supplies from their nearest Dobbies’ store.

Staff say spotlight products for May include Medium Easy-clean Seed Feeders, Sunflower Hearts, High Energy Fat Bals, Table Seed Mix, Suet Sprinkles and highly nutritious Mealworms.

A break down of the products is as follows:

  • RSPB Sunflowers Hearts, £12.99
  • RSPB Mealworms, £13.99
  • RSPB Favourites Blend, £6.99
  • RSPB High Energy Fat Bals with Sunflower Hearts, £2.99
  • RSPB Table Seed Mix, 6.99
  • RSPB Suet Sprinkles, £10.99
  • RSPB Medium Easy-Clean Seed Feeder, 16.99

For more information on Dobbies, members of the public can visit www.dobbies.com

For those living rurally that cannot take part in the in-store workshops, there are downloadable resources at dobbies.com to access at home. 

For more information on RSPB and how to become a member, those interested can visit www.rspb.org.uk

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