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Posts tagged “House Sparrow

Male House Sparrows Rise to the Occasion

5-28-13 male House Sparrow  070The House Sparrow’s (also known as English Sparrow) reputation leaves a bit to be desired. It is an introduced species which has thrived in North America to the point where it is considered a nuisance species and an agricultural pest. Its tendency to displace native birds such as Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows from nest boxes does not endear it to many bird lovers. However, one has to acknowledge the fact that male House Sparrows are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to parenting. Males help choose the nest site, build the nest, incubate the eggs, brood and feed the nestlings and keep the nest clean by removing the nestlings’ fecal sacs. That’s more than can be said for some of our most admired species, such as male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, which disappear shortly after copulation.


House Sparrows

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Along with two other introduced species, the European Starling and the Rock Pigeon, House Sparrows (also known as English sparrows) are some of our most common  birds. They are so common, in fact, that we rarely stop to appreciate their plumage, which, in the male, is quite distinctive — they have gray heads, white cheeks, a black bib, and rufous neck, whereas females are a rather dull  buffy-brown.  Male House Sparrows have a pecking order which can be determined by looking at the black bibs of the males.  Those birds with larger patches of black tend to be older and dominant over males with less black. By broadcasting  this information on their feathers, House Sparrows can often avoid fights and thereby save energy.