Another Look at a Common Bird

When we think of common birds found year-round in North America, we think of robins, blue jays, cardinals, and the Canadian goose. The house sparrow is also one of the most common birds found throughout North America. Considered to be of least concern on the ICUN list, the house sparrow is also an incredibly successful invasive species.

Male house sparrows are more brightly colored than the females, and their plumage will change depending on the season. The sparrow can have anywhere from brown to grey coloration with patches of white and black around the face and neck. Females have drabber plumage that is usually limited to a dull brown or gray color. Both males and females are very small and compact with stocky bodies and shorter legs. During mating season, sparrow nests are built in sheltered areas such as tree hollows or the eaves of houses.

The house sparrow was introduced to many countries throughout the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and several countries throughout South America and Africa. The house sparrow was first introduced into the United States in the 1850’s. Upon being released in a new territory, the sparrows will populate and spread quickly. This bird is very adaptable to all kinds of climate, weather, and especially habitat. While it is unlikely that large masses of sparrows will be living in an undisturbed forest, they will be quite common on city skyscrapers, the backyards of suburbia, and in the fields of farmers. This adaptability makes it easy for the sparrows to take over an area and potentially cause harm to local bird populations. In many places, the sparrow is seen as a pest. It can also be a carrier of various diseases.

For all its status as a pest, the house sparrow also has its uses. Part of a house sparrow’s diet consists of seeds from weeds and insects that are also considered pests. These include moths, cabbage worms, and cotton caterpillars.

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