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Council housing is 'strictly for the birds' in Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 14:32 31 March 2015 | UPDATED: 20:44 07 April 2015

Waiting to be rehoused by the council... a firecrest snapped by birdspotter DavidDarrell-Lambert at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on March 4

Waiting to be rehoused by the council... a firecrest snapped by birdspotter DavidDarrell-Lambert at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on March 4

DavidDarrell-Lambert & Jane Sill

Council housing is now being created in London's East End—for the birds.

Daryl Stafford installing birdboxes at Cable Street gardens [phorto: Jane Sill]Daryl Stafford installing birdboxes at Cable Street gardens [phorto: Jane Sill]

It includes terrace accommodation for large families of cockney sparrows.

Tower Hamlets, with London’s longest housing waiting list for people, is constructing accomodation for feathered ‘tenants’ as part of its biodiversity strategy to encourage more wildlife into the urban environment.

Volunteers at one ‘construction site’, Shadwell’s Cable Street community gardens, have just installed 10 new nest boxes in time for the spring.

“The gardens are already full of birds—thanks to regular generous feeding by Daryl Stafford,” one garden volunteer said. “He’s a regular user of the gardens and also led the nest box scheme.”

Large flocks of goldfinches, greenfinches and chaffinches fill the air with song as they visit the feeders, birdwatchers report.

The gardens also have other wildlife-friendly features and have won the council’s Best Community Wildlife Garden award in the Tower Hamlets in Bloom awards for the last two years.

But nesting opportunities are limited, particularly for birds which use holes, as there are no mature trees yet.

So the volunteers put this right with Daryl obtaining six boxes suitable for blue tits and great tits, two starling boxes and a sparrow terrace, which have now been erected.

Bird lovers are waiting with interest to see if the new homes are occupied this spring, to ease the waiting list.

The birds have even been promised “more nesting facilities” this summer by the volunteers, while the council has also installed new nest boxes and bat boxes at Island Gardens, on the Isle of Dogs.

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