Good morning and a Happy New Year to you everyone.
The first bird I have seen this year, in France, is the Tree Sparrow, and lots of them. Beautiful little birds, hopping from every branch.
Smaller than a house sparrow and more active, with its tail often cocked. It has a chestnut brown head and nape (rather than grey) and white cheeks and collar with a contrasting black cheek spot. They are shyer than house sparrows in the UK and are rarely associated with people, although in continental Europe they often nest in buildings just like house sparrows.
The UK tree sparrow population has suffered a severe decline, estimated at 93 per cent between 1970 and 2008. However, recent Breeding Bird Survey data is encouraging, suggesting that numbers may have started to increase, albeit from a very low point.
Read more about the tree sparrow www.rspb.org.uk
You can hear the song of the sparrow: www.british-birdsongs.uk