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Sparrows of North Dakota

House Sparrows


JPG--Female House Sparrow                 JPG--Male House Sparrow

House sparrows are not true sparrows. They belong to their own family called Passeridae. House sparrows were introduced to America from Europe in the late 1800's and soon took over habitats of other birds much like the noxious weed leafy spurge has taken over many landscapes in North Dakota. Since house sparrows are an introduced and difficult to control species, they are not protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act like other songbirds.

House sparrows are, unfortunately, one of the first birds people think of when they hear the word sparrow. This is because of the house sparrow's close association with urban areas and people. Unlike most of our native sparrows which live in many habitats outside city limits and feed on natural foods, the house sparrow relies upon man to provide its food. It feeds on waste grain and almost any other food that is thrown out as trash.

Control of this species is critical for the welfare of other cavity nesting birds such as wrens, bluebirds, tree swallows, chickadees and nuthatches. House sparrows will fiercely outcompete other species for nesting space, piercing eggs and killing fledglings and adult birds in the process.


Previous Sparrow -- Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni)
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