Let’s Count the Sparrows is a campaign that takes place every spring.

The reason to launch the campaign in 2017 was the alarming fact that sparrows are in decline. Over the last 15–20 years sparrow numbers have declined with 30 per cent. (We quote data submitted by our volunteers that take part in one of our big initiatives – the Common Bird monitoring.)

© Bogdan Boev/Sparrow

We live together

Birds are indicators to processes in nature, and sparrows – being urban birds – indicate changes in the environment that we share with them. Overbuilding that leads to less green areas in the city, air pollution… these are just two of the reasons for the decrease in numbers for sparrows.

© Bogdan Boev/Sparrow
More and more often we hear the question “Where have the sparrows gone?”, so we decided to try and find the answer. In order to do that we need to examine the trends of the populations of our favourite urban birds and to make assumptions based on actual data.
© Georgi Gerdzhikov/Sparrow
© Veselin Zlatev/Sparrow

Let’s Count the Sparrows

The mission of the Let’s Count the Sparrows campaign is to assess the status of the three most wide-spread species of sparrows in Bulgaria – house sparrow, tree sparrow, Spanish sparrow.

Let’s Count the Sparrows is a campaign that depends entirely on volunteers who are ready to count the sparrows on a chosen day and then share the results with us at vrabcheta.bg.

By counting sparrows we can establish the numbers of these ‘urban vagabonds’, the habitats they prefer, as well as the dominant species for the country. We organize the campaign every year so we can paint the long-term picture of the population trends and find out its determining factors.

© Veselin Zlatev/Sparrow

How can I join Let’s Count the Sparrows?

It’s easy. Go to vrabcheta.bg and click on Join. Registration is very quick. On the map, choose a location where you’ll count. It can be anywhere that is easy to get to on the Saturday when the campaign will take place.

How do I count?

© Sv.  Spasov/Sparrow

Here’s what you need to know and do:

  • First, refresh your memory: how do the different species of sparrows look like, how to tell them apart.
  • On the day of the count (it’s on a different date every year but it’s on a Saturday in May), go to your chosen location and spend 10 minutes there.
  • Be there between 9 am and 12 pm. This is the time window when the data form for the count will be active at vrabcheta.bg.
  • For the 10 minutes of your stay, count the sparrows that you see. Even if you don’t see any, do not be disappointed – your results will still be very important for the count.
  • Log in to your profile through Enter at vrabcheta.bg and fill in the number of sparrows you’ve seen under the images of the three species of sparrows: house, tree, Spanish. If you want, you can add a description of your location (park with trees, residential complex, boulevard, street, etc.).
  • You can count at more than one location but the distance between the two locations needs to be more than 300 metres and both should be visited in the interval 9 am–12 pm.
© Sv.  Spasov/Sparrow

What do we know so far?

  • The species with the highest recorded numbers is the house sparrow.
  • Every year the number of locations with no recorded sparrows increases.
  • Sofia remains the city with the highest number of locations with no recorded sparrows.
  • The most common locations for sparrow counting are: house garden and park with trees and scrub, followed by peaceful street and residential complex.
© Nikolay Petkov/Sparrow