Written by: Elizabeth van Kleef-Visser
The larvae of the European Cockchafer were damaging the fairways at the Twentsche Golfclub. Reports were heard about the beneficial effect of sparrows, however, the proposal of placing a large number of birdhouses was met with a fair dose of scepticism. Fortunately, the club was collaborating with nationwide research on the effect of systemic pesticides on the population dynamics of insectivorous birds through their influence on invertebrate availability in farmlands. Part of the research included the feeding pattern of sparrows.
During one of the field visits, Nick Hoffman observed what sparrow mothers were feeding their chicks by putting a small band around the chick’s neck for one hour and analyzing the contents afterwards. Indeed, it was found that all chicks had been fed a good number of cockchafer larva, even in this short amount of time. The pictures were very convincing and currently, the club is planning to install at least 50 more birdhouses.