Brits' obsession with home maintenance is leading to a worrying decline in the nation's sparrow population, according to a new report.

Sparrow populations have declined by up to 68 per cent, figures from the British Trust for Ornitholology (BTO) show.

Sparrows, once a common sight in UK gardens, are under threat from diminished nesting options.

They prefer to nest in crevices within buildings, which are increasingly being filled and repaired by home-owners as they try to retain heat and reduce energy bills.

BTO experts say gardeners who install bird boxes will attract sparrows – but point to new research by B&Q which showed that 57 per cent of people in the UK don’t have a bird box in their garden.

To inspire Brits to install bird boxes, B&Q has enlisted the help of bird box specialists Richard Dawson and Jacqui Symons.

Richard and Jacqui, artists from Oldham, have worked with the community to create over 100 specially-designed bird boxes as part of an art project for Gallery Oldham.

B&Q’s Stephen Pitcher said: “As we strive to keep our homes warm and our energy bills down, the nation’s sparrows are being left out in the cold.

“As the UK’s biggest home improvement and garden retailer, we felt it was our responsibility to remind people of the importance of having a bird box in their garden.”

A spokesman for the BTO said: “Our beloved house sparrow is under threat, especially across the south east wehere we’ve seen a shocking 33 per cent decline and a massive 72 per cent decline in London.”

Anyone making bird boxes for sparrows will ned to ensure that the box has a 32mm entrance hole.

While bird boxes are easily available to buy, B&Q has produced a step-by-step guide for people who fancy making their own. go to http://bit.ly/1NW4vH2 to read more.