Date
23 August 2019
A drop in the sparrow population last year was due to abnormally dry weather, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society believes. Photo: AFP
A drop in the sparrow population last year was due to abnormally dry weather, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society believes. Photo: AFP

Sparrow population rebounds in HK: study

Hong Kong has witnessed a rebound in the sparrow population, with the bird number now estimated to be 20 percent more than the level recorded in 2018, according to the local bird-watching society.

A study suggests that the population of Eurasian Tree Sparrow in Hong Kong now stands at a little over 300,000, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) said on Wednesday.

That is similar to the number estimated in 2017 but 20 percent more than that recorded last year, the group said.

Releasing the results of the fourth Hong Kong Sparrow Census, Dr Pang Chun-chiu, a senior research specialist at HKBWS, said he believes the population drop in 2018 was due to abnormally dry weather, which causes a delay in sparrows to nest and breed, last year.

HKBWS says it is aware of the hygiene concerns and inconvenience caused by birds, but warned that removing birds’ nests would mean violation of the law.

Sparrows prefer building their nests on the external structures of buildings, seeking locations such as vent openings and air conditioner units. It has been observed that many birds also choose places that are close to eateries, in a bid to ensure better chance of securing food for baby sparrows.

All birds in Hong Kong are under legal protection. If estate management or others are troubled by the problem of bird faeces, they are advised to install trays to hold the bird droppings, among other solutions.

According to HKBWS, bird nests are generally used for raising baby birds. After the breeding season from March to June, birds will leave the nest.

WL/RC

 

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