House Sparrow - Passer domesticus
October 27, 2010
Once upon a time in 1851 New York City, a certain Mr. Nicholas Pike purchased 100 Passer domesticus for the sum of $200 from England. Mr. Pike was from England as well, and was apparently lonely for the fauna of his homeland. The birds were released in Brooklyn, and have been spreading ever since. These sparrows, being tenacious little cretins, are one of the most successfully introduced species to North America. Their preference for human modified habitats (farms, suburbia, anyplace there are houses) has largely aided this success. They like what we like.
I find the male plumage of this species to be quite handsome, but my praise ends there. Their agressive character that has aided their success, wreaks havoc on our native species of birds, especially blue bird populations. They will invade the nests of native species, peck the eggs or even kill and remove nestlings. I have been dwelling on this a bit lately as it is fall, and I have begun to fill my feeders again. To my delight I have 3 species of woodpeckers that visit the suet feeder, and a red-breasted nuthatch, chickadees, and an occasional Rose-breasted Grosbeak that come to the black oil sunflower seed feeder. To my dismay, all are overwhelmed by the hoards of House Sparrows that swarm the feeders. They gorge themselves until it seems they couldn't possibly fly away. I have switched the suet from a rennet and seed cake to a rennet and insect cake. House Sparrows like seeds, and will less likely ransack the insect cake. I stopped refilling the sunflower seed feeder for a few days, hoping the sparrows will eventually move on. In the meantime I worked up a watercolor of one as therapy. And if you want a fat Passer domesticus, it's in the STORE.