Birds - English Sparrow
( Originally Published 1904 )
(Passer domesticus) Finch family Called also : HOUSE SPARROW
Male—Ashy above, with black and chestnut stripes on back and shoulders. Wings have chestnut and white bar, bordered by faint black line. Gray crown, bordered from the eye backward and on the nape by chestnut. Middle of throat and breast black. Underneath grayish white.
Female—Paler; wing-bars indistinct, and without the black marking on throat and breast.
Range—Around the world. Introduced and naturalized in America, Australia, New Zealand.
" Of course, no self-respecting ornithologist will condescend to enlarge his list by counting in the English sparrow—too pestiferous to mention," writes Mr. H. E. Parkhurst, and yet of all bird neighbors is any one more within the scope of this book than the audacious little gamin that delights in the companion-ship of humans even in their most noisy city thoroughfares ?
In a bulletin issued by the Department of Agriculture it is shown that the progeny of a single pair of these sparrows might amount to 275,716,983,698 in ten years ! Inasmuch as many pairs were liberated in the streets of Brooklyn, New York, in 1851, when the first importation was made, the day is evidently not far off when these birds, by no means meek, " shall inherit the earth."
In Australia Scotch thistles, English sparrows, and rabbits, three most unfortunate importations, have multiplied with equal rapidity until serious alarm fills the minds of the colonists. But in England a special committee appointed by the House of Commons to investigate the character of the alleged pest has yet to learn whether the sparrow's services as an insect-destroyer do not outweigh the injury it does to fruit and grain.