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Welcome to my blog. This will be an ongoing blog in which I will discuss things I am working on, as well as my thoughts on wildlife conservation. Please come back to this page regularly, as I will update it from time to time.

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December 8, 2012

Backyard Beauties XII The House Sparrow

Filed under: Wildlife — admin @ 8:23 am

A Brilliant Male House SparrowThe House Sparrow has a Latin name Passer Domesticus. It was one of the first birds named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 and was called Fringilla Domestica. In 1760 this bird was renamed Passer Domesticus.

The House Sparrow is found all over the world and is a bird even very young children have seen and see as the symbol of all birds species during the early years of childhood. This is the bird all children all over India are taught is the epitome and symbol of all birds, all flying feathered creatures, all the descendants of the dinosaurs There so many memories and stories attached to this particular back yard bird, universal, intrepid, a survivor who copes with urban and rural habitats, in woodlands and fields, striving to thriving in each of these environments.

A Female House Sparrow IFamiliar, admired and liked and at the same time also disdained for its plentiful presence. It is a bird that gets targeted and blamed for consuming grain and seeds. A passage in Life and death in Shanghai wherein as per Mao’s instructions the peasants beat drums day and night to keep the sparrows up in the air till the birds fell down dead of exhaustion comes to mind. I recall the tears welling as I read this chapter of despicable human behavior towards these sweet song birds which are part of creation and have a right to coexist with the rest of the creatures on this planet.

House Sparrows are social creatures, they roost together, build their nests together in clumps and eat together, sing together and can hold their own at feeders. The House Sparrows eat mostly on the ground. They rest up in the trees. House Sparrows eat fruit mostly berries. In addition the House Sparrows eat insects, ants, flies, frogs, lizards and earth worms.

A Female House SparrowThe House Sparrow is about 6 inches in length and weighs between three quarters of an ounce to one and a half ounces. They are small somewhat chunky birds with a round head, a short and stout bill with a short tail. House Sparrows are brown, gray, black and white. The male House Sparrow is brighter in color and in breeding plumage has a gray cap, a black throat and upper chest to form a black bib and this patch apparently enlarges with age. The cheeks and belly are gray. The back is a gray brown in color. The female has no gray crown, no black throat or bib. She is mostly a soft buff color and the gray upper parts are streaked with brown markings.

A Female House Sparrow IIIHouse Sparrows mate for life. The male House Sparrow is territorial and keeps an eye out for any other male approaching his mate. The location of nests is usually a hole in a trees, cliffs and banks. In North America House Sparrows are cavity nesters. The female lays a clutch of 4 to 6 eggs, incubate for 2 weeks. The brooding of the eggs is by female mostly. The nestlings fledge in another 10 days. The younger mating couples of House Sparrows have a hard time raising a brood successfully. As House Sparrows get more mature, their success in rearing young increases with each season. The House Sparrows have a life expectancy of 20 years but very few make it to that age in the wild.

A Female House Sparrow with nest materialThe House Sparrow is ubiquitous, well known and viewed as common. Admired, loved, reviled and despised, there are many conflicted and complex behaviors humans display towards these little back yard song birds. Farmers have been educated as to the benefits of insect habitats on arms for pollination, planting native plants in cities has helped promote populations of House Sparrows. In the city of Chennai in India sparrow nests are being distributed to help promote the numbers of House Sparrows. A day of the year has been set aside for World Sparrow Day: March 20. This is as it should be. After all the House Sparrow is the very bird referred to by Jesus in the Gospel of Mathew, this very bird was proffered as an example of Divine Providence. It is only to be hoped that children world over will grow up seeing the House Sparrow in flocks singing, eating, flying and roosting in ever growing number

A Female House Sparrow II


  1. Common sparrow I feel are dwindling and need protection.
    They have fallen prey to urbanization, pesticides and food
    Lack of safe areas I recall large numbers in Midwest and eastern USA
    But now only a few sparrows live in suburbia!

    Comment by Kudrat — December 13, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  2. Several years ago I purchased a bird house made from a cowgirl boot with an A-shaped wooden roof over it. The boot was new and the birds would not touch it for about two years until it was well weathered. The first occupants were a pair of House Sparrows.
    They went about their daily duties building their nest and eventually had several hatchlings to attend. I would watch them coming and going with nesting materials and insects for the young. After the young hatched all went well for several more weeks. Then
    one morning I noticed that the male was hanging around the nest area making all kinds of racket. After a few hours I looked into the nest inside the boot with a flashlight and everything was gone. The hatchlings and female had disappeared without any disturbance of the nest at all. I mentioned this to the local Audubon president and he told me it could be nothing but a snake that actually climbed straight up the bricks on the side of my house and got into the nest as the boot hung from the eave of the roof. The poor male did not leave the area for several weeks. His actions and constant shrill noises told me that he was actually mourning the loss of his mate and offspring. Finally, he gave up the fight and went on his way.

    Your post is brilliant!

    Comment by Jim Baines — December 27, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

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    of writing is in fact fruitful for me, keep up posting these content.

    Comment by Ben — May 31, 2015 @ 6:50 pm

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