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Lost bird helps raise funds for English church


LONDON (RNS) — A tiny bird blown across the Atlantic Ocean from America on winters winds is helping raise funds to repair the roof of an ancient church in the tiny English village where it landed.

The white-crowned North American sparrow, a rare visitor to Britain’s shores, has become an attraction for “twitchers” – bird spotters – in the Norfolk village of Cley-next-the-Sea, and a fund-raiser for the settlement’s Church of St. Margaret of Antioch.

The twitcher tourists turning up in their thousands to view the seven-inch sparrow have already chipped in more than $6,000 in donations – with possibly more to come – that will be used to mend the east England church’s 13th century roof.

Cley resident and bird expert Mark Golley suggested the small creature could linger until spring, when its instincts probably would prompt it to wing its way further north on migration.