The English Sparrow

The English Sparrow of Virginia was brought into the country in 1850 as a control tool for the cabbage butterfly. The English Sparrow is classified as belonging to the Animalia Kingdom, Chordata phylum, Aves class, Passeriformes Order, Passeridae Family, Passer Genus and Passer domesticus Species. The English Sparrow has an estimated length of 5.5 to 6 inches. The male bird has a gray-whitish lower side and brown backside. It has a gray crown with a chestnut nape behind the neck and a black throat (Comstock, 1939).

The female English Sparrow is similar; however, its lower side is a dull brown and grayish while over the eyes there are pale white lines. These birds have thick bills and tend to flicker their tails frequently. English Sparrows prefer hopping around and rarely walk on the ground. They have social behavior where they feed in flocks while squabbling over seeds or crumbs. These birds are significantly noisy and flutter on fences and eaves in a restless demeanor; however, they do not seem to fear humans. As a result, they are often found near farmsteads and in the countryside (The Cornelllab of Ornithology, 2011).

The English Sparrows have a preference of building their nests in manmade structures such as walls, eaves, streetlights. Their nests are made of dried vegetation and lined with softer materials such as feathers, paper or strings. In most cases, they build their nests close together. These birds take frequent baths in dust while throwing dust all over their feathers. As a result of this action, they make small holes in the ground and become aggressive to other Sparrows approaching these holes. English Sparrows feed on seeds and grains such as corn, sorghum, oats and wheat. They also eat wild foods such as buckwheat, crabgrass and ragweed.

English Sparrows mate in seasons which have adequate supply of insects. In most cases, such season is summer. When the breeding season approaches, the males begin calling frequently to females in their chosen nesting sites, while those males which do not have mates begin building nests and calling persistently to attract females (Anderson, 2006). The females respond through a threatening display when approached. English Sparrows have a preference of eating insects which they feed to their young.



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