Sparrows have lived alongside us in the Old World for centuries, and we have grown to like them, with their incessant chatter and cheerful chirping. Where we have taken them with us, sparrows have prospered, which has not always won them friends in new places, as they flourish alongside us.

"Wherever people build, House Sparrows sooner or later come to share their abodes"

Tragically, in their ancestral strongholds of Europe there are some places where they are not doing well.

Where have all our sparrows gone?

Common up until the mid-Eighties, the cheerful chirruping of the house sparrow is falling silent in Europe's cities. Here in the Old World, we regret the loss of a familiar sight and sound. The decline is greatest in some of the large cities of Europe - for instance I grew up in London in the 1970s/80s and sparrows were still commonplace, where you now find very few in the green spaces of Central London.

House sparrows specialise in grain seeds, but they coped with the disappearance of horses for transport and the massive revolution in agricultural practices of the early 20th century hardly missing a beat. In the last six years of the 20th century London lost three-quarters of its sparrow population - and paradoxically this decline seems to be peculiar to Western Europe rather than the introduced populations of the New World.