Fun Facts on Sparrows

Sparrows are social birds and they nest closely to one another. Sparrows came to the U.S. in the 1800’s. They were released to the wild and are now in many areas. They fly and feed in small flocks. They live in nests that are located under roofs, bridges and in tree hollows. Although sparrows are not water birds they can swim to escape predators! They usually just take dust baths by splashing around in the dirt! The male sparrow has a reddish back and black bib. The female has a brown back and eye stripe. Their diet consists of seeds, small invertebrates and crumbs. Before the house sparrow was introduced from Europe the Chipping Sparrow was the most common sparrow in Alabama City.

Sparrows can be found in farming areas and cities and suburbs. They prefer to live near human dwellings especially if there are bird feeders or birdhouses. Sparrows are around 14-16 cm long and weigh 27-39. They are very chirpy with Grey and brown colours. They can fly at 38.5 km per hour and reach speeds of 50km an hour, but not for long. Our man made environments have always been a source of food and shelter for the sparrow. They usually nest under the eaves of our homes and in holes in the walls and buildings or in climbing plants that grow on walls. The sparrow will raise three nests of 3-5 eggs. Both male and female help to incubate the eggs for 12-14 days. The fledglings usually fly out after 15 days.

Unfortunately, sparrow’s numbers have been declining by 50% in Europe in the last 25 years. In The Netherlands they are actually on the threatened birds list. Sparrows love messy gardens with lots of seeds, insects and berries. Unfortunately, there is less food because people no longer garden the natural way. The human connection to sparrows began 10,000 years ago. People switched from hunting and gathering to growing crops. Sparrows began associating with wheat farmers in the Middle East and tree sparrows with rice farmers in China. There has even been mention of sparrows in ancient times. They are mentioned in the Old and New Testaments.

Sparrows have often been eaten as food. Sparrow pie was common in Britain in the First World War. They are illegally imported from China. There were 2 million frozen sparrows seized by customs in Rotterdam in 1993 on route to Italy!

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