House Sparrow - Passer Domesticus

House Sparrow
(click to enlarge)
A widespread resident, the House Sparrow is not as common as most people think. This is due to their abundance in areas inhabited by humans, which is because of their dependance on us for food, nesting sites and shelter. They are cheerful, intelligent birds that are very sociable and often do things in groups. A favourite group activity in summertime is dust-bathing.

Identification
The male, pictured above, has brown & black streaks on it's back, a grey crown, and is an off-white underneath with a black throat. The female is a much paler colour, without the black throat and other bold markings, and has a pale streak running behind the eye. They cheep and chirp incessantly.

Nesting
Creates a very untidy nest, made from grass stems woven into a dome shape, which can also include a varied assortment of bits and pieces that the sparrow may decide to utilize. String has been known to be used! House Sparrows have even been known to utilize street lights for nesting, where the warmth generated by the light is ideal for keeping the chicks warm at night.

Food
They will eat pretty much anything, and have one of the most varied diets of the bird world. Seeds, nuts, sunflower hearts, berries, bread, insect scraps and a whole host of other foods make up their regular diet.

Garden Tips
Provide some hay for nesting material. If your feeders are being over used by sparrows and you want to encourage some different species, buy some feeders with protective cages around them that will only let the smaller birds in to feed and keep the sparrows out.