Page 132 - A Field Guide to Fairfax County's Plants and Wildlife
P. 132
se Sparrow

(Passer domesticus)


These are small, chunky
songbirds with an average
length of 16 centimeters. Males have a gray cap edged with chestnut, white
cheeks and pale gray underparts with a dark bib; females and juveniles are
brown on top and mousey-gray underneath with a tan streak over each eye.
Song: an almost constantly repeated cheep or cheerup. Call: a rapid chatter.
House Sparrows nest in tree cavities or bird houses. They are aggressively
territorial and sometimes kill other birds along with the young and eggs so
they can take over the nest. Their own nests are bulky and untidy. The female
does most of the incubating, but the male helps feed and raise the young.

This European native was introduced Distribution and Habitat
into North America around 1851. The
House Sparrow is officially classified House Sparrows live year-round
as a nuisance species in Virginia. in all five physiographic provinces.
They can be found in almost
It was one of the first animals to every kind of habitat, from open
be given a scientific name in the woodlands to wetlands to urban
biological classification system. areas. They thrive in human-altered
habitats like farms and suburban

Role in Food Web

They eat mainly seeds and small
insects. In farm country they can
damage crops. Urban birds boldly
scavenge for discarded food, spilled
grass seed, insects killed by cars
or bug zappers, and will try almost
anything. Their main predators are
cats and birds of prey, but many
other animals hunt them, including
crows, Blue Jays, Gray Squirrels and
even humans.

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