On World Sparrow Day, we want to share with you some curiosities and facts about this distinctive and special bird family.
- There are 43 species of Sparrows (family Passeridae) including 8 genera (depending on the taxonomic classification used);
- Sparrows are very social and live in colonies;
- Most species inhabit in close association with humans, though there are genera that inhabit less urbanized areas, like woods, savannas or mountains;
- Sparrows are around 14-16 cm long with grey and brown colour;
- Males and females are very easy distinguished by feather colouration - males also have reddish and black parts, while females stick with the brown and grey;
- The sparrow symbolism means power, creativity, community, simplicity, and empowerment;
- Sparrow is a symbol of loyalty in Japan owing to its friendly nature and ability to live in groups;
- Sparrows live between 3 and 5 years in the wild;
- The oldest sparrow recorded to date is known to live for 15 years and 9 months!;
- Sparrows are not territorial, but they will aggressively protect their nest from other sparrows;
- Sparrows usually build nests under the roofs, under bridges and in tree hollows;
- Even though they are not in the group of water birds, sparrows can swim very fast to escape from predators;
- The main predators of sparrows are dogs, cats, foxes, crows, sparrowhawks and other big birds, and snakes;
- Once abundant in great numbers, sparrows are now making their way onto the endangered birds' list;
- The main threats to sparrows are habitat degradation and destruction, pollution, a decrease in food, an increase of feral pigeons’ population, and lack of awareness.
World Sparrow Day is a yearly celebration, since 2010, designated to raise awareness of the House Sparrow and other common birds to urban environments, and threats to their populations. It is an international initiative by the Nature Forever Society of India in collaboration with the Eco-Sys Action Foundation and several other international organisations across the world.
How can we help Sparrows?
We can all support sparrow populations around the world. Here’s how:
- Admiring and appreciating them, taking photos and sharing them with others;
- Getting involved in studies or simply reporting our daily sights to platforms such as eBird;
- Befriend them, keeping a bowl of water and some grains for sparrows to feed on;
- Planting trees to create shelter and keeping a garden with wildflowers to provide food sources;
- Say no to chemicals (insecticides and pesticides) in our garden.