What is a group of sparrows called, a flock, a squabble? The entry on collective nouns for birds in the article on birding on About.com 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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