Posts Tagged ‘Old World Sparrow’

When I first saw this bird, I knew that it was a sparrow, but couldn’t identify it. I was baffled when I went to my Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, because I couldn’t find the sparrow. I went back and forth through the 14 pages covering sparrows, examining carefully the text and illustrations, but none of the species looked like this bird.

I was beginning to doubt my identification skills, so I kept looking through the field guide, desperately hoping to find the bird. On the very last page of the section of the guide with information on bird species, just before all of the range maps, I stumbled across a small section called Old World Sparrows and found the bird—it’s a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

Apparently Old World sparrows are non-native (as their name suggests) and are of a different family from all of the other sparrows that I have observed. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website indicates that House Sparrows were introduced from Europe in 1851 and that they are common in places with houses, because the birds seem to prefer to nest in manmade structures, like the eaves of buildings, more than natural nesting sites. I took these photos at a little manmade lake that is partially surrounded by houses, rather than at the marsh where I do a lot of my shooting, which may explain why I have never noticed this type of sparrow before.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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