Saturday, November 22, 2008

An 1851 Export

I got a comment from Jenn about House Sparrows saying if they ever died out here that we could import them back from the USA.
I did some google research and sure enough the Europeans had introduced them to the USA in 1851 in Brooklyn, New York.
Eight pairs to start (sixteen birds).They can have upto five clutches per year of between two to five eggs.That means the eight pairs could have made two hundred youngsters in the first year. If year on year they continued that prodigous growth rate no wander they have spread like wildfire.
They were also subsequently released in Cincinatti over a period of three years, and across other States including California in 1910. I think they were used as a pest control, but before the understanding of Ecology. They have spread across the United States at the expense of the native Birds.
The House Sparrow (also called English Sparrow to distinguish it from the native American Sparrow) is one of three birds not protected by US law. The other two baddies are the European Starling and Rock Pidgeon, also both introduced from Europe.
The photo is of a female House Sparrow.I have them in the garden most days. Its strange to think these birds that are in decline here in the UK, are thriving across the Atlantic and are the bad guys to American birds.


Una said...

They have almost disappeared from my garden. The birdfeeders are rarely touched. Very sad, though I think the cats might be one cause.

David (Snappy) said...

Hi Lottie,I hope they come back.Make sure the bird feeders are higher than where the cats can easily reach!