Sparrow is a bird that every person has met. This small bird has become an indispensable attribute of trees growing in the yard, a herald of approaching warm days, impending rainy weather. Where the feeders hang, the sonorous hubbub of sparrows is constantly heard, and with the approach of spring, their cheerful chirping is heard everywhere.
Sparrows, bird sparrows, have become heroes of fairy tales, stories, sayings, nursery rhymes, proverbs and even folk signs. Let's take a closer look at the life of this small, but nimble and very famous bird.
Origin of the species and description
Sparrow is a widespread bird from the same name of the passerine family.
It is said that the thievish passerine disposition gave this bird its name. It happened at the moment when the feathered one stole a bun from the baker, and he shouted after him: “Beat the thief!” This is how the sparrow got its name.
Ornithologists distinguish about 22 varieties of these birds, eight of them live nearby, most often you can find the following types of sparrows:
- Mongolian earthen.
The appearance of a sparrow is familiar to almost everyone from childhood. This is a small bird, but the beak is quite massive. The colors of the sparrow are dominated by gray, light brown and dark brown tones. Each sparrow species has its own distinctive features, some of which we will describe.
The black-breasted sparrow has a chestnut head, neck, wings and occiput. In the area of the back, light mottled spots are observed. The sides and cheeks of the sparrow are painted in light colors. Goiter, throat, half of the breast are painted black. The wings are lined with a horizontal dark stripe. Males look much more elegant and brighter than females.
The snow sparrow (finch) is decorated with long black and white wings and a gray tail with lighter feathers along the edge. A black spot stands out noticeably in the region of the throat of this sparrow.
The stone sparrow is very large in comparison with its relatives, a distinctive feature of this bird is a wide light strip running along the crown, and its beak is light brown. The breast and throat are light with mottled, the goiter is decorated with a speck of bright lemon color.
The red sparrow has a rich chestnut color, the back of the head, back and wings of this particular shade. The female is distinguished by a light gray or brownish breast.
The short-toed sparrow is very small, the color of its feathers is sandy, narrow small stripes of a light tone can be seen on the throat and end of the tail.
The Mongolian ground sparrow has a nondescript gray coloration, it has lighter spots, but they stand out very faintly, so sometimes they are not visible at all.
Appearance and features
The appearance of a sparrow has been known to us since childhood. This is a small bird, in the color of which there are brown, brownish and gray tones. The wings of a sparrow are decorated with dark and light stripes that stand out with specks. The head, abdomen and area around the ears of a sparrow are either light gray or light brown.
The dark massive beak stands out clearly on the bird's small head. The sparrow's tail is not long, and the entire length of the sparrow's body can reach up to 15 cm, its body weight is about 35 grams. Sparrow wings span up to 26 cm.
The female sparrow is easy to distinguish from the male not only in size (it is a little smaller), but also in color, which is much more elegant in the male. It has bright spots on the chin and chest, which are not observed in females.
The sparrow's eyes are outlined with grayish-brown edging. The legs of sparrows are short, thin and equipped with weak claws. Most often we see field and house sparrows. Differences between these species are not difficult to detect. The male house sparrow wears a dark gray hat, and the male field sparrow wears a chocolate one. On the wings of house sparrows there is one light strip, and on the wings of field sparrows there are two of them. The tree sparrow has black braces on its cheeks and a white collar around its neck. The house sparrow is larger in size than its field counterpart.
The cervical spine of the sparrow has twice as many vertebrae as the long-necked giraffe.
Where does the sparrow live?
It is easier to list those places where you will not meet a sparrow, because it lives almost everywhere, although the sparrow does not like too frosty climate. A sparrow can be called a human companion, it gets along well both in the countryside and in the conditions of huge megacities.
Sparrows settled in the tundra, and in the forest-tundra, and on the Australian mainland. The distribution range of sparrows is very extensive. It covers territories from the western part of Europe to the Sea of Okhotsk itself, the sparrow is found both in Central and East Asia, it did not bypass this feathered one and Mother Siberia.
The specific area of settlement can be indicated for each species:
- the house sparrow is a native inhabitant of Eurasia, it is found everywhere in our country, with the exception of its northeastern part and the tundra;
- the snow sparrow inhabits the Caucasus and the south-east of the Altai Territory;
- the field sparrow settled throughout Eurasia and North America;
- the red sparrow in the Russian territory has chosen the Kuril Islands and the south of Sakhalin;
- the Mongolian earth sparrow is found in Transbaikalia, in the Republic of Tuva and Altai;
- The black-breasted sparrow lives in the north of the African continent and in Eurasia;
- the stone sparrow was registered in the Altai Territory, on the lower Volga, in Transbaikalia, in the Caucasus;
- the short-toed sparrow inhabits Dagestan, because. prefers rocky mountain ranges.
It would seem that sparrows live everywhere, they can be seen sitting on the roof, on a tree branch by the window, just flying past, fighting near the feeder, jumping on the asphalt, chirping in the garden, living in the field. We are so accustomed to these small birds that a sparrow is considered something (someone) ordinary and everyday for us.
What does a sparrow eat?
A sparrow can be called an omnivore; this little bird is unassuming in food. The sparrow menu consists of crumbs, various grains, insects, berries, fruits, leftovers from a human meal. You can't call a sparrow very shy. Many have probably seen how these nimble birds beg for food at railway stations, from passengers waiting for their transport.
People break off pieces of buns, pies for them, sparrows try to separate them in a flock, because they are not at all greedy. Sparrows, without shyness, guard the remnants of some food in summer cafes, and they can also steal a tidbit from the table. New, unfamiliar food is treated with caution, carefully examined, and often they will not eat it at all.
In winter, the birds have a hard time, a large number of them can be seen at the feeders. Moreover, often when a flock of sparrows appears, tits fly away, such a robber and lively character in sparrows.
In winter, in severe frosts and heavy snowfalls, many sparrows die, because they have nowhere to find food, so people should take care of the birds by placing food troughs.
Sparrows live just fine in the village in the summer. The gardens are full of food for them. Sparrows are very fond of cherries, currants, grapes. Often gardeners and gardeners complain about them, due to the fact that they peck a lot of berries. On the other hand, sparrows destroy a lot of insect pests that damage the crop.
It should be noted that chasing sparrows from the garden with a scarecrow is a useless thing, the bird is not at all afraid of it. Here is a sparrow's varied menu, which largely depends on human preferences.
Character and Lifestyle Features
Sparrows are impudent, arrogant, unceremonious and cocky. Where there are many of them, there is always noise, din, chirping, twittering. The character of the sparrows is fighting, a little cheeky. Often they displace other birds from some territory.
Sparrows live in flocks, because. their grown offspring remain with their parents, then the flock grows every year. Sparrow life expectancy is short, it is only about five years, rarely there are specimens that live up to 10. Sparrows have strong family unions, created for a whole short life.
Sparrow is a sedentary bird, preferring to live in the same territory, because of which scandalous fights and violent showdowns with strangers often occur.
Sparrow's nest can be found anywhere:
- on the balcony;
- in the attic;
- behind the window ledge;
- in the birdhouse;
- in a small hollow;
- in an abandoned swallow's nest.
The field sparrow often settles in nests with large birds (herons, eagles, storks, falcons). The cunning sparrow is thus under the protection of large birds, which monitor their offspring, while also looking after the sparrow.
In the sparrow family, peace and quiet have not been heard, there is always a hubbub and restless chirping, especially in early spring, when new couples are created. Each flock has a sentinel sparrow, which at its post vigilantly monitors the surrounding environment, warning relatives of the slightest threat with its sonorous chirping exclamation. Hearing him, the flock quickly disperse.
Sparrows are partly romantics, tk. they look at the world through rose-colored glasses, that's how their visual apparatus works.
Social structure and reproduction
As already mentioned, the sparrow is a flocking bird, sedentary, living in a certain territory, which does not tolerate encroachment. Pairs of sparrows are very strong, birds create a family union until the end of their days. Pair formation usually begins in the very last days of winter or early spring.
Then the sparrow chirping and restless chirping are heard everywhere. Cavaliers, seducing ladies, often get into fights, so scandals during the marriage period are inevitable. The newly-made couple begins building a nest, which is already quite ready towards the end of March. The nest of a sparrow is small, coarse, twisted from straw, small branches, feathers and dried grass.
In April, the female begins to lay eggs, usually their number does not exceed 8. They are white in color and strewn with reddish-brown speckles. Both parents incubate the eggs in turn, the whole process lasts approximately two weeks. Hatched chicks are born practically naked, their down is sparse, their large yellow mouth is immediately noticeable. Sparrows are very caring parents who feed their babies together, tirelessly bringing them all kinds of insects.
The period of such feeding lasts a little more than two weeks. When the babies are only 10 days old, they are already starting to make their first flights. Towards the end of May or at the very beginning of summer, young sparrows begin to leave their parental nests. After leaving the nest, the young remain in the flock, subsequently forming their own families. Parents soon begin to create new masonry again, there may be several (about three) over the summer.
Surprisingly, in late autumn, there is again a revival among the sparrows, loud chirping, and the courtship of the females resumes. Birds are again starting to build nests, in which offspring are not expected until next spring, and these cozy, pre-prepared structures will serve as a refuge from winter and autumn bad weather.
Natural enemies of sparrows
Although the sparrows have a cocky and courageous character, this little bird has a lot of enemies. Stray cats hunt sparrows with passion, and domestic cats are not averse to hunting these birds. A stray dog will also happily eat a sparrow if it is lucky enough to catch it. During the day, sparrows can suffer from swift raids of the sparrow hawk, which always attacks suddenly and with lightning speed, catching unprepared birds by surprise.
Often, even a sparrow on guard does not have time to come to his senses and warn his noisy fellow tribesmen. At night, sparrows become a snack for predatory owls, which, with their keen eyesight, can detect these little birds. Sometimes owls hoot loudly, which frighten the sparrows and force the birds out of their hiding places, and then attack the small frightened birds.
The cunning fox can also be a danger to sparrows, often destroying their small nests and eating chicks. The marten can also threaten the sparrows, because. excellent movement in the canopy of trees. Hedgehogs, squirrels and ferrets will never refuse a snack on sparrow eggs if they find a nest.
The difficult living conditions of sparrows also provoke the mass death of these birds. Often, newborn chicks fall out of the nests, which leads the babies to death. Many sparrows (especially young ones) do not survive until spring, because it can be very difficult for birds to survive harsh, frosty and snowy winters.
It is almost impossible to find food in such difficult conditions, birds are waiting for help from a person, carefully monitoring replenishment feeders. In rural areas, it is easier for sparrows to overwinter, where they can find food in barns and sheds, where grain is often stored. This is how difficult the life of these little birds, whose enemies are more than enough.
Population and species status
The army of sparrows is huge and numerous, they have spread widely throughout almost the entire globe. The population of sparrows does not experience any threats from the outside world, the disappearance of these small birds does not threaten at all, sparrows are not under special protection anywhere.
The attitude of people towards sparrows has developed in two ways. On the one hand, they are beneficial by eating a huge number of pests, on the other hand, countless hordes of sparrows can lead to the destruction of the entire crop. Many berries, fruits and grains can be eaten almost completely by sparrows. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the sparrow is not afraid of humans, so various garden and field scarecrows do not work on it.
There is no need to have a negative attitude towards sparrows. One has only to recall the story that took place in China, when people began to exterminate birds because of their encroachment on rice fields. The Chinese found out that the sparrow could not fly continuously for more than 15 minutes, so they drove the poor birds to death, not allowing them to sit down.
Hordes of sparrows died, but more insidious enemies came in their place – all kinds of insects, which began to feel at ease, because. the birds no longer threatened them. They destroyed all the crops, so that year a terrible famine broke out, from which more than 30,000 Chinese died. Apparently, then people realized their mistake, but its price was very terrible.
Today, nothing threatens sparrows, their distribution area is extensive, and the population is very numerous. The sparrow is certainly not a rarity, we are so used to these birds living nearby that, sometimes, we don’t even pay much attention to them.
In conclusion, I would like to add that the sparrow is very dexterous, bold and cocky, it is not for nothing that he is the hero of various fairy tales, cartoons and stories. You should not be annoyed at the arrogant and thievish disposition of the sparrow, because, at times, it is arrogance, impudence and quick wit that helps these little birds survive in difficult living conditions. In the end, I would like to mention the well-known saying that characterizes the abundance of these birds: “There is no such branch that the sparrow does not sit.”