The House Sparrow is one of the most widespread and abundant songbirds on the planet, and one that almost every person, birder and nonbirder alike are familiar with. Introduced in America in New York in 1851, it has succeeded in Urban and farming areas across the country, where it is now found commonly in all 48 contiguous states. Its ability to succeed is derived from its ability to associate with humans. Known for being tough and adaptable it is a fierce nest competitor with native species and has likely affected species decline in several. On the upside, there is an apparent decline in this species in recent years, but its foothold in the urban environment is well in place.
Found in a wide variety of disturbed habitats--generally cities, towns, farms, etc. General surroundings vary, but in North America essentially always found around man-made structures, never in unaltered natural habitats. Lives in city centers, suburbs, farms; also around isolated houses or businesses surrounded by terrain unsuited to House Sparrows, such as desert or forest. One of the most common species encountered in cities.
Mostly forages on the ground for seeds--typically weed and grass seeds or waste grain. May perch on weed stalks to reach seeds. Well adapted to seeking food, such as in urban settings, where scavenges crumbs of food left by humans. Will also eat insects during summer months, including those smashed from the fronts of parked cars. Regularly visits bird feeders for a wide variety of items.
During courtship, male displays by hopping near female with his tail raised, wings drooped, chest puffed out, bowing and chirping. Often breeds in small colonies. Pairs defend only a small territory in the immediate vicinity of the nest, chasing away all intruders. The nest is usually in an enclosed niche such as a cavity in a tree, hole in a building, rain gutter, birdhouse, and nests of other birds. Where such sites are scarce, will nest in open in tree branches. The nest is made of material such as grass, weeds, twigs, trash, often lined with feathers.
Typically lays 3-6 whitish to greenish-white eggs, with brown and gray dots concentrated toward larger end, sometimes 2-7. Incubation is by both parents and lasts 10-14 days. Both parents feed the nestlings, with young leaving nest about 2 weeks after hatching. HOSP will have 2-3 broods per year.
Best Places to Find
Anywhere. HOSP are found in almost all urban settings and can be found in backyards, parks, city streets, etc. If there is a source of food, HOSP will inhabit the area. There are several large swaths of desert in Utah and high elevation where this species is yet to impede, or at least be recorded.