1What is citizen science?
Citizen science is a new kind of research, where the general public, and not professional scientists, are the principal researchers. Although a new discipline, citizen science has already been successfully applied on topics like astronomy, entomology and ornithology.
2Why a project about sparrows?
Since sparrows are so widely spread across Malta, yet relatively poorly studied, they are the perfect candidate for a citizen science project. Urban biodiversity is especially important in Malta, since so many people live in cities and don’t venture out in the countryside. Besides this, knowing what sites are used by sparrows will help us to protect trees in Maltese cities.
3I’m not Maltese. Can I still participate?
Of course! The project aims at engaging the whole community. Whether you’re Maltese, an expat, or a visitor, we want your data.
4How will you use the information to protect sparrows?
Once the roosts are mapped out, we will prepare a report for local authorities, so that they can inform their urban development plans.
5Does it matter if the same roost is recorded by two different people?
Not at all! As roosts will need to be verified by our trained ecologists at Inspire, more records simply make the process quicker.
6I found a baby sparrow! What should I do?
If there is no immediate danger, like cats or cars, leave it there. When fledglings are learning to fly they often fall out of the nest, but their parents will keep feeding them. It might look very awkward, but it’s part of the process. The best you can do is to leave them alone, or even better, put them back in the nest (if you can spot it).
Please consider carefully whether to pick it up. Raising baby sparrows in captivity is extremely difficult and the vast majority of them die. Their chances are much better with their parents – as much as we try, humans are not good mama sparrows!
If you think the bird is in immediate danger, pick it up, put it in a cardboard box, and please call us for more advice. Please don’t feed them or give them water, and wait for more instructions. A lot of people think that bread and milk is an obvious choice to feed baby birds, but it’s not – again, please call us for more information.
Our number is 356 21347646 and it’s active 24/7.
7I have found an injured sparrow. What should I do?
Pick it up, put it in a cardboard box, poke some holes in it for ventilation, and put the box in a quiet, dark place. Then please contact us at 356 21347646 9. We will make sure that the bird receives veterinary attention and the best care possible.
8Will sparrows use a nestbox?
Yes! Feel free to put one in your garden, balcony, or rooftop.