The house sparrow is a songbird. It is also called a sparrow or house sparrow. It is the second most common bird in our country after the chaffinch. The house sparrow is a species of its own. The tree sparrow, red-necked sparrow, snow sparrow, and many others also belong to the sparrow family.
House sparrows are rather small birds. They measure about 15 centimeters from the beak to the beginning of the tail feathers. This is equivalent to half a ruler at school. The males have stronger colors. The head and back are brown with black stripes. They are also black below the beak, the belly is grey. In the females, the colors are similar but rather closer to grey.
Originally, house sparrows lived almost all over Europe. Only in Italy, where they are only in the far north. They are also found in large parts of Asia and North Africa. But they conquered the other continents more than a hundred years ago. Only at the North Pole and the South Pole do they not exist.
How do house sparrows live?
House sparrows like to live close to people. They feed mainly on seeds. People have that because they grow grain. They prefer to eat wheat, oats, or barley. The meadows yield many seeds. They also like to eat insects, especially in spring and summer. In the city, they will eat almost anything they can find. They are therefore often found near food stands. In garden restaurants, they also like to snack directly from the tables or at least pick up the bread seeds from the floor.
House sparrows begin the day just before sunrise with their song. They like to bathe in dust or water to care for their feathers. You don’t like living alone. They always look for their food in groups of several animals. This allows them to warn each other when enemies are approaching. These are mainly domestic cats and stone martens. From the air, they are hunted by kestrels, barn owls, and sparrowhawks. Sparrowhawks are powerful birds of prey.
Around the end of April, they pair up to breed. A couple stays together throughout life. The pairs build their nests close to other pairs. They prefer to use a niche or a small cave for this purpose. This can also be a place under the roof tiles. But they also use empty swallow nests or woodpecker holes or nesting boxes. As nesting material, they use everything that nature has to offer, i.e. mainly straw and grass. Paper, rags, or wool are added.
The female lays four to six eggs. After that, they incubate for about two weeks. Males and females take turns incubating and foraging. They protect the young with their wings from rain and cold. In the beginning, they feed crushed insects. Seeds are added later. After about two weeks, the young fledge, so they fly out. If both parents die before then, the neighbor sparrows usually raise the young. Surviving pairs of parents have two to four young in one year.
Despite this, there are fewer and fewer house sparrows. They no longer find suitable breeding grounds in modern houses. The farmers harvest their grain with better and better machines so that hardly anything is left behind. The pesticides are poisonous to many sparrows. In the cities and gardens, there are more and more foreign plants. The sparrows do not know these. They, therefore, do not nest in them and do not feed on their seeds.