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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 14:29 GMT
Nest boxes to encourage rare bird
Tree sparrow
A tree sparrow is much smaller than the common house sparrow
Efforts are being made to bring back a rare farmland bird which has been disappearing from the landscape.

Conservationists at Loch Leven Nature Reserve, near Kinross, are to install 50 nesting boxes for tree sparrows.

Between 1971 and 1996, 87% of the bird's population was lost. The reason is not fully understood but a lack of nesting holes is being partly blamed.

It is hoped the boxes, being built and erected by volunteers, will encourage more tree sparrows to nest.

The project is being run by Scottish Natural Heritage which manages the nature reserve.

Reserve officer Craig Nisbet said: "Tree sparrows are an important part of the biodiversity of the Loch Leven area. At one time there would have been many more birds and they would have been easier to see.

"Unfortunately because of the decline in their numbers all over the country, they can be difficult to see today. We estimate that there are about 40 to 50 tree sparrows living in the area."

The organisation has appealed for volunteers to help them install the boxes at an event on Saturday.

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