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Name: Doug
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 8/1/2004


Question:
We have a large number of English sparrows that are becoming quite a nuisance in our yard and garden. I have read several articles and, to date, have not found an answer to my question.

Does the English sparrow have a natural enemy?


Replies:
English Sparrows are more correctly called House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are not related to sparrows at all, but belong to the weaver finches of Europe. None of these birds are native to North America and are one of the few species not protected by law. They were introduced to the US (New Jersey) from Europe around about 1890 and have spread throughout NA since then.

In Illinois, during the last ten years, I have witnessed a decrease in the number of these birds around my house due to the spreading of a truly native bird, the House Finch. They compete with the House Sparrow and the House Finch is visually more aggressive by my observations. However, the only natural predator I have personally seen take House Sparrows are hawks. The American Kestrel Hawk and the Cooper's Hawk have visited my bird feeding stations a number of times to enjoy a meal of House Sparrows. I live in a well populated area. Like many introduced species of animals (and plants such as the dandilion), they have not been in the new ecosystem long enough to have predators of any significance.

Steve Sample


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