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Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
What became of the cockney sparrow?
Sparrow
Residents are being asked to help the sparrow
Londoners are being asked to help research into plight of the capital's sparrow population.

Experts aim to establish why numbers of the much loved "cockney sparrow" have declined dramatically over the last 30 years.

The sparrow was once a common bird throughout London's parks and gardens.

Even MPs have prompted questions in Parliament about the fate of the bird.

Research is under way by a number of organisations such, as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, to find possible reasons for the decline.

However, the London Biodiversity Partnership is calling on the city's residents to help identify where the sparrows are.

Disappearing sparrows

Londoners can take part in the survey which runs from 18 June to 12 July by sending records online at www.rspb.org.uk or www.wildlondon.org.uk.

Wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham said "Where Have All Our Sparrows Gone?" was a survey that everyone in London, whether a resident or a visitor, could take part in.

He said: "We're asking people to go out and look for sparrows and count how many they find.

"If we can see where sparrows are still doing well, with numbers still being found, and compare these places with ones where sparrows have disappeared this may help us to understand what's gone wrong.

"It could also help us to consider how we can manage our parks and gardens to encourage sparrows in the future," he said.

More than 2,600 sparrows were counted in Kensington Gardens in 1925 but numbers dropped to 885 in 1948, 544 in 1975, 81 in 1995 and only eight in October 2000.


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19 Jan 01 | UK
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