House Sparrows – an aid to time travel

The cheerfully chirping cacophony of a community of house sparrows is a sound that takes me immediately back in time to the streets of suburban London and to my Grandma’s house in Kingsbury in the early 1970’s in particular. Some of my earliest memories are of watching sparrows taking dust baths in the grey dry soil of my Grandad’s flowerbeds, below his carefully tended roses and dahlias.

The house sparrows I recorded today are a flock that have come to use our honeysuckle as a daytime base and roost, from which to patrol the gardens and feeders in our row of cottages. My mum visited just before Christmas and the sparrows had the same powerful effect – transporting her back to her childhood home and unexpected memories triggered by the lively chatter and sudden silences of the humble, but altogether charming house sparrow flock