Sparrows with us

Sparrows with us
House Sparrow

What is a group of sparrows called,  a flock, a squabble?   The entry on collective nouns for birds in the article on birding on lists the following--host, quarrel,  knot.

Sparrows are  little brown birds so commonly found here. They are so ordinary, they are often overlooked.

Their coloring is good  camouflage. It is both urban, and earth-colored. They blend in perfectly with concrete grays and  brown leaves.

Did you know there  are many different varieties of sparrows? Sparrows are found in most parts of the world. Among the native American sparrows are the song sparrow, the white-crowned sparrow and the American tree sparrow. You can learn more about them, here.

Pictured above  is the house sparrow, or English sparrow (Passer domesticus).  You can read more about them, here.  House sparrows are not native to America;  they were brought to New York City in 1851.  Like starlings and rock doves (pigeons)  they have made themselves at home, here.

House sparrows  thrive in urban density and suburban neighborhoods.  They build their nests in the most precarious places, crevices of high-rises, streetlights  and  gutters of houses. Like the starlings and pigeons, they prefer to live among people.

They are a part of city life. They can be found in parks and plazas, often in the company of  pigeons.  They dart among the larger birds competing for handouts from people eating lunch outside.  Among the easy-going pigeons, sparrows are bold and audacious. I have often seen them snatch  an offering on the fly!

Although they seem to like pita chips, pretzel bits, bread crumbs and trail mix, house sparrows  are primarily seed eaters. They congregate at bird feeders. In the autumn, they feed on the seed heads of the chickory  and  ornamental grasses in my garden.

Even in winter, there are sparrows, clinging to the stems and grasses.

Year around, sparrows are with us. They are with us all winter, after most of the robins leave. Not  the sudden flash of red cardinals, they are still a welcome  sight,  chirping  in the snow.

Sparrows are  hopping around our feet when the robins return.  Now, they are nesting in the streetlights and gutters, going about their lives, feeding on maple seeds.  They share our summer days, feasting on bread crumbs and mulberries.

Yes, sparrows can be noisy and quarrelsome, invasive, even.  And, there are so many of them!  Kind of like people that way, aren't they?   Like us, they are opportunists, and survivors, adaptable and resilient.  What would life be, without their brave and cheerful spirits?

If we ever go exploring life on other worlds,  would we take the sparrows  with us?


Thanks to  my fellow blogger, Aquinas Wired at  the Quark in the  Road for his post that inspired this one. You can read it here.

And,  here's a mourning dove.



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Filed under: seasons, weather

Tags: sparrows


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  • WG, they're even on pirate ships.

  • Why, so they are. The Captain Jack Sparrows have more colorful plumage, but they are also bold and audacious.
    They are perfectly adapted to the high seas, and our floating cities of the future!

  • Arrrrrrr!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    oh for the life on the open sea--a pirate's life for me!

  • This post was for the birds! Ha! I love the birds I see outside.

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    And the season of singing and chirping has come...thanks for reading!

  • I've been looking at the birds differently since I read this. Thank you very much!

  • In reply to MargaretSerious:

    Thank you for reading--and appreciating the birds...

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