A sparrow is a member of the genus Passer. They are small passerine birds which belong to the family Passeridae. They are also known as old-world sparrows. Sparrows often make their nests near houses or buildings. This means they are one of the easiest birds to see in the wild. Those little sparrows sitting on the rooftop are such a pleasure to watch! It is amazing to see these tiny birds fly all over with such energy and enthusiasm. How about knowing some interesting facts about this little bird? If interested - check them out!
- The House Sparrow is also known as the English Sparrow. This is to distinguish it from the native sparrows that can be found in North America. Obviously, the House Sparrow can trace its origins back to Great Britain, hence its name.
- The House Sparrow first came to North America in 1851, when it was introduced to Brooklyn, New York. From there, the House Sparrow population quickly spread to the Rocky Mountains and on to the West Coast, mainly due to introductions in San Francisco, California and Salt Lake City, Utah.
- In 1883, House Sparrows were legally protected in Texas. There was a law that disallowed the killing of any sparrow back then.
- When sparrows were at their most numerous a century ago, there were many sparrow clubs whose members competed to kill the most birds in a year.
- Though a long-established resident of Britain, it’s not thought to be a native, but spread naturally north from North Africa.
- Man has always had a love-hate relationship with the cheeky sparrow. They have been introduced successfully to numerous countries around the world, including both North and South America, East and South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
- The common sparrow in eastern Asia is not the house sparrow but its cousin, the tree sparrow.
- DNA research has shown that 15% of offspring are the result of either the cock or hen mating with another partner, confirming the sparrow’s reputation for sexual infidelity.
- They are very sociable birds, often nesting in colonies.
- Their adaptability can be gauged by the fact that they have been found living and breeding 2000ft underground in a coalmine; others have been recorded living their whole lives inside warehouses.
- Few birds are happier in the company of man than the house sparrow, and for much of the year it is rare to find them far from human habitations.
- House sparrows are non-migratory, but urban flocks traditionally moved to the countryside in the late summer to feed on the ripening grain fields.
- Though adults are mainly vegetarian, young birds need a high proportion of animal matter (insects) in their diet when first hatched.
- They are quick to learn new feeding habits, soon adapting to taking food from suspended nut feeders, a habit first noted in the late 1960s.
- They have been observed catching moths, attracted to a light, at night.