A GARDEN centre in York has teamed up with a nature conservation charity to do their bit to support the house sparrow population.

Dobbies has joined forces with the RSPB to educate its customers in York on the declining house sparrow population - and encourage them to do their part to welcome this bird species into their gardens.

During the month of May, RSPB volunteers will be raising awareness and collect donations across a number of Dobbies’ stores while offering the opportunity to sign up to become an RSPB member.

As part of this campaign, Dobbies’ York store will host a Little Seedlings Club workshop on Sunday May 7. The workshop will be suitable for kids aged 4-10 years old - and the children will learn about the official Red List and the house sparrow, as well as some helpful tips on how to encourage more house sparrows into their gardens.

Dobbies’ community and CSR communications executive, Chloe Bell, said: “Our Little Seedlings Club attendees are the next generation of gardening enthusiasts and this awareness workshop with RSPB at our York store is extremely important when it comes to helping rescue the house sparrow.

“I have fond memories as a child listening to the house sparrows as I watched them fly about the garden and we want the younger generation to experience this too.

"You can help these birds by planting trees, shrubs and flowers in the garden, a place for the house sparrow to take shelter, forage for insects to feed their chicks and ultimately help increase the population.”

Since the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979, encouraging people to count birds for an hour in January, the house sparrow's population has gone from an average of 10 visitors per garden to only about four in 2022. Although house sparrows topped the Big Garden Birdwatch for the 19th year in a row in 2022, their population has declined so drastically that they are now on the UK Red List for birds.

Adrian Thomas, the RSPB’s wildlife gardening expert, said: “We are really looking forward to working with Dobbies to spread the word about these wonderful garden birds, and how people can help them.

"They’re great fun for kids to learn about too – house sparrows are delightfully sociable and chattery and they really benefit when we give them the food, water and home they need. It shows how little actions can really make a difference to our local wildlife.”

Customers looking to encourage house sparrows to visit their garden can pick up RSPB-branded supplies from the Dobbies store in York. Spotlight products include medium easy-clean seed feeders, sunflower hearts, high energy fat balls, table seed mix, suet sprinkles and mealworms.