Today is World Sparrow Day. I had never heard of this day before, but it has been around since 2010, according to websites I’ve seen. The day is set aside to celebrate and raise awareness of the decline of the house sparrow. I’m sure many of you (I know I did) immediately questioned that house sparrows are in decline. They are ubiquitous in many areas and so numerous to be considered a pest in others. But, according to many sites posting about World Sparrow Day, the familiar bird is indeed in decline throughout much of its global range.
I’ve been critical of house sparrows in the past and have complained of them “hogging” the birdfeeder perches, but I certainly do not wish a precipitous global decline of the species. I’ve read enough about the passenger pigeon to know that no species is safe regardless of their current population. So I read further on the matter of the house sparrow.
According to WorldSparrowDay.org: “The house sparrow was once the most common bird in the world, but in the past few years, this bird has been on the decline over much of its natural range, both in the urban and rural habitats. The decline of the house sparrow is an indicator of the continuous degradation the environment around us is facing. It is also a warning bell that alerts us about the possible detrimental effects on our health and wellbeing.”
It’s always good to get ahead of a problem before it’s too late, which is what the National Forever Society is doing with World Sparrow Day. Much more information is available at www.worldsparrowday.org. Take a look and make your own decisions about the state of the house sparrow.
The term “sparrow” is very broad and includes many bird species. In the U.S., we have “Old World Sparrows” and “New World Sparrows.” House sparrows, which are not native to North America, are Old World Sparrows and pretty much every other sparrow we see in New England is a New World Sparrow.
Here are some photos of New World Sparrows we see in New England.