May 3, 2014

Start of a Lundy breeding season

Similar to what happens in the rest of Europe, the Lundy House sparrows also started to breed very early this year. Around, the 15th of March, during our second “winter” visit to the island, a pair of house sparrows managed to lay their first egg. Although we were not convinced as to what was going to happen to this brood, they managed to raise chicks! Yes, with a bit of delay, but they've got three 12 days old chicks by now, 19th of April. They are not alone and another 6 pairs have nestlings, too (although they hatched only recently). Finally, there are in total 12 nests that contain at least one egg.

Summarising, 18 pairs have started their breeding activity this year by mid-April. I guess the mild winter as well as the incredibly nice weather on Lundy (5 sunny days in a row, unbelievable), might be pushing insects out, and thus allowing sparrows to breed.

PS: As an extra, a short anecdote: A female Merlin (Falco columbarius) was seen yesterday, on the 18th of April. Merlins are one of the few sparrow predators that show up on the island, they are not recorded as breeders on the island, but they usually stopover during migration. Best wishes for the sparrows.

Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar

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