Green Light for Bird Brick Houses on London’s tubes

Our mini April heatwave has just swept across the country as I write – how extraordinary to think that our garden birds were duelling with heavy frosts and snow only a matter of a few short weeks ago.

There’s so much to talk about at this time of year, from what to fill your bird feeders with, the results of the RSPB birdwatch, the BTO’s joint study into bird diseases. More on those diseases and practical steps for helping later on.

We’re delighted to be working with Transport for London (TFL) and Great Ormond Street Hospital at the moment; both institutions have given the go-ahead to the installation of bird brick houses in their sustainable developments. The hospital are having bat, swift and sparrow boxes, while TFL are also looking at a broad range of our nesting boxes. Such high profile clients are fantastic for raising our profile – a vital part of our growth strategy as a young, thriving business.

It’s interesting for us to speculate on the motivation of our clients to place orders with us – is it purely driven by planning stipulations, or to what extent are architects and developers also people who really care about our native birdlife? As with most things, the truth is probably not entirely black or white; all we can hope is that in our small way, we can influence the industry’s decision-makers towards doing the right thing for urban birds and our precious environment.

I’ll finish with a mention of bird diseases, firstly an example of the scale of the problem – House Sparrow numbers have shrunk alarmingly, from around 12 million UK breeding pairs in the 1970s to a little over 5 million now, Salmonella typhimurium thought to be a contributory factor along with loss of habitat. The BTO’s latest guidance suggests that Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Siskins, House Sparrows and Collared Doves appear to be the most commonly reported victims of diseases, all being gregarious types which enjoy feeding in groups.

Bird lovers can help:  feeding in moderation, so that feeders are typically emptied every 1-2 days, the regular cleaning of bird feeders, and rotation of feeding sites to avoid accumulation of waste food or bird droppings are all believed to contribute towards inhibiting the spread of infection. The good news for House Sparrows is that the last few years has seen the population stabilise. With friends like Great Ormond Street Hospital, they’ve an even better chance of a return to full health.