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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 05:34 GMT 06:34 UK
Guardian for tree sparrow
Tree sparrow
Nest boxes will be built for the tree sparrows
The RSPB has employed a special officer to protect a bird which is in danger of extinction in the UK.

The number of tree sparrows has dropped by 90% since 1970.

Now Conor O'Gorman will take up the unique post of "tree sparrow recovery officer", based at Carsington Water in Derbyshire.

The project, run in partnership between the RSPB and Severn Trent Water, has been designed to ensure the future of the tree sparrow.

'Future growth'

Geoff Nickolds, conservation manager at Severn Trent Water, said: "By providing a focus and making this unique post, we can ensure that we all work together to stop the decline of the little bird and create the right environment for its future growth."

Mr O'Gorman will work closely with Severn Trent Water and community volunteers at about 10 of the company's sites where there are known to be sparrow colonies.

Part of his role will be to work with landowners and farmers to identify improvements that can be made.

One of these is arranging the planting of seed-rich habitats for the birds to feed on.

The project will also involve building nest boxes and feeding the birds at sites across the whole of the Midlands.

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See also:

07 Feb 00 | Sci/Tech
Mixed fortunes for UK birds
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