Tuesday, January 26, 2021

House Sparrow

House Sparrows, like this male and female near Olympia on 22 January 2021, are not all that common in our area. These images are my first for the species in Washington. These sparrows are introduced to North America, first released in New York in 1851, as well as elsewhere in subsequent years. By 1943, House Sparrow populations reached upwards of 150 million birds (with, perhaps, 500 million world-wide). Numbers have fallen since 1966, both in North America and western Europe (where House Sparrows are native). Some populations declined by 70%. Suspected reasons for this decline include increased use of herbicides and pesticides in farm-fields, resulting in fewer insects and weed seeds, and more efficient farming, resulting in less grain spillage (Lowther and Cink 2020). Note that sparrow populations have also declined in urban areas.

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