About The House Sparrow

The House Sparrow, Sparrow to many, was introduced into North America from its native Europe in the 1850’s. It is one of the few introduced species that has successfully spread across the continent and is abundant in urban and agricultural habitats. It is a small, stocky songbird with thick bill and short legs. Both sexes have brown back with black streaks. The male has white cheeks and black bib. The female lacks the white cheek and black bib but instead has a pale straw colored stripe behind the eye.

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The House Sparrow Nesting Preferences

House Sparrows nest in holes or crevices found in agricultural, suburban and urban areas and tend to avoid woodlands, forests, grasslands and deserts. Both the male and the female build the nest. It is a large, untidy cup of feathers, strings, grasses, paper and straw. A brood or clutch may consist of 1 to 8 whitish eggs with gray and brown spots. Incubation begins after all the eggs have been laid. Both male and female incubate the eggs. Incubation lasts for 10 to 14 days. After the eggs are hatched, both parents feed the young until they fledged. Four broods may be produced in the breeding season.

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Building a Birdhouse For The House Sparrow

The size of the House Sparrow birdhouse is 4 inches in width x 4 inches in length x 9-12 inches in height. Entrance hole should be 1 3/16 – 2 inches in diameter located 6-7 inches above the floor. Mount the birdhouse below the eaves of buildings or houses. The birdhouse should face the east to avoid direct heat from the sun and prevailing wind and rain.

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The House Sparrow Mating Habits

House Sparrows form monogamous pairs for each breeding season. They vigorously protect their nesting sites. They have been observed to attack birds that come into their nesting territory.

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The House Sparrow Feeding Preferences

House Sparrows feed on a wide range of food including insects, spiders, berries, nuts, seeds and scraps of food left by humans. Rural House Sparrows eat more waste seeds from animal dung and seeds from fields while urban House Sparrows eat more commercial bird seeds and weed seeds. As a whole, they eat just about anything, sunflower hearts, suets, peanuts, waste grains and livestock feeds. They forage primarily on ground.

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Interesting House Sparrow Facts

The House Sparrow is distributed worldwide excluding the Poles. Its introduction in North America happened in 1851 when 100 birds from England were released in Brooklyn, New York. There are more House Sparrows in the north than in the south as is generally true for native species. The House Sparrow, although not a water bird can swim. It loves to throw dust and soil all over its body feathers just as if it is bathing in water. The size of its bib indicates dominance of the male within its flock, the bigger the bib, the more dominant it is. During spring, they often damage plants with yellow flowers such as crocus for reasons unknown. House Sparrows are among the most sedentary birds with even the juveniles nesting not too far from their parents.

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