World Sparrows Day: Let’s Explore a few facts about Sparrows

Sparrow is a bird found in most parts of the world. It is a small bird that has a typical length of 16 cm (6.3 in) and a mass of 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz). Females and young birds are coloured pale brown and grey, and males have brighter black, white, and brown markings. One of about 25 species in the genus Passer, the house sparrow is native to most of Europe, the Mediterranean Basin, and a large part of Asia. Its intentional or accidental introductions to many regions, including parts of Australasia, Africa, and the Americas, make it the most widely distributed wild bird.

The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation, and can live in urban or rural settings. Though found in widely varied habitats and climates, it typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and deserts away from human development. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but it is an opportunistic eater and commonly eats insects and many other foods. Its predators include domestic cats, hawks, owls, and many other predatory birds and mammals.

Let’s read a few facts about Sparrows:

Sparrow is a very small bird. It can reach 4 to 8 inches in length and 0.8 to 1.4 ounces in weight.
Sparrow has stout body, covered with brown, black and white feathers. Its wings are rounded.
Males and females can be distinguished by the feather coloration: males have reddish backs and black bib, while females have brown backs with stripes.
Sparrows are very social and they live in colonies called flocks.
Sparrows are carnivores (meat-eaters) by nature, but they have changed their eating habits when they learned to live close to people. Sparrows primarily eat moths and other small insects, but they can also eat seed, berries and fruit.
One of the reasons why sparrows adapted to the life in human settlements is constant supply of food. Sparrows easily learned to eat “served food” when people started to build bird feeders.
Sparrows usually fly at the speed of 24 miles per hour. When needed (in the case of danger), they can accelerate to the speed of 31 miles per hour.
Although sparrows do not belong to the group of water birds, they can swim very fast to escape from the predators.
Main predators of sparrows are dogs, cats, foxes and snakes. Young and inexperienced birds are the main target and easy meal for these carnivores.
Sparrows are not territorial animals, but they will aggressively protect their nest from other sparrows.
Sparrows usually build nest under the roofs, under bridges and in tree hollows.
Male is responsible for building of the nest. During construction, male will try to attract female. She can help in further building if she is interested in mating.
Sparrows are allegedly monogamous. Recent genetic analysis showed that only small percent of eggs contains DNA of both parents (in other words: both male and female are prone to infidelity).
Sparrows have several broods each year. Female lays 3 to 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts 12 to 15 days. Both parents take care of the eggs and chicks. Young birds are ready to leave the nest 15 days after birth.
Sparrows can survive between 4 and 5 years in the wild.

World Sparrow Day is a day designated to raise awareness of the house sparrow and then other common birds to urban environments, and of threats to their populations, observed on 20 March. It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation (France) and numerous other national and international organisations across the world

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