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House Sparrow Passer domesticus

Once the House Sparrow was the most numerous bird in the Netherlands. But those days are over. Nowadays we build and isolate our houses and consequently there is no place or hole in the roof for the House Sparrow to build its nest. The number of House Sparrows in Holland dropped considerably over the past few years. And not only in Holland, but in Belgium and England as well. In England the bird has even been put on the red list of endangered species! The male, in the top pictures, is richly marked and has a beautiful ash grey cap. The female, in the bottom pictures, is less colourful and her cap is like the rest of the body made up of pale browns and beiges.

This is perhaps the best known European bird. For many centuries it has accompanied man. Wherever you find people, you find the House Sparrow. The bird is very similar to the Tree Sparrow and the Dunnock, but there are striking differences. The House Sparrow male has a very distinctive gray cap. The animal prefers larger cities and villages and is not present in rural areas, where you will find it's close relative the Tree Sparrow. Although the Dunnock is also called the Hedge Sparrow it's not even a member of the same family and has a more fragile beak. The House Sparrow is a very socially oriented bird. When appearing in your garden you find that there's never just one of them. Sometimes it even looks like an invasion! Add to this that they are constantly arguing over food, water and even sand (the creature not only bathes in water, but in sand as well) and you can guess that they bring a lively atmosphere in your garden. They eat almost everything: insects, all kinds of seeds and left overs of human diners. In the last century they were introduced in the United States where they quickly spread and became very succesful, thus making some native birds rather rare. The introduction of foreign animals in a new environment always seems to raise problems (like the introduction of the rabbit in Australia).

This bird belongs to the family of Sparrows (Passeridae). It is an infrequent visitor to our garden and can be seen in Holland all year round. The bird is 6" and weighs 30 grams. It lives in cities and villages mostly. It eats almost everything. House Sparrows make a nest from april to june. Normally they build it in roofs or holes in houses. Rarely the bird makes a relatively huge and complicated nest in a tree. Four to six eggs are laid two times a year. The breeding period is a fourtnight, the young remain inside the nest for about 15 days.

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