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Most Wanted: House Sparrow

|  April 30, 2015

The house sparrow (Passer domesticus) is pursuant to inestimable pestiferous air and ground assaults by millions of insidious sorties. Mass attacks cause stress antagonism, contamination and substantial damage to food commodities and structures.

Size: Adult length is 5.5 to 6.25 in. Wingspan is 7.5 to 10 in.

Color: Males in spring are brightly multicolored, and in fall, their colors dull. Females are in dull earth tones year-round.

Breeding: Two to three broods per year (one to eight white, light green or light blue eggs).

Incubation: 12 to 14 days.

Fledgling: 14 to 16 days.

Flight Speed: Five to 40 mph.

Lifespan: 10 to 12 years.

Diet: Seed, waste grain, livestock feed, weeds and insects. They mainly forage on the ground.

Nesting: Made of straw, grass, weeds and trash. Features a side opening. Common locations include in cavities under eaves, or within buildings, trees or bushes (small colonies).

Habitat: Urban and suburban areas, gardens, stables, feedlots, farms, ranches and food plants.

Range: Ubiquitous.

Significance: House sparrows are pestiferous and potentially damaging to human endeavors. They flourish within urban and agricultural environments and are adaptable to most human architecture and field-to-fork food production. Sparrows also inflict societal and economic costs of reduced public health, food destruction and property damage.

Dr. Stuart Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.

This article is tagged with and posted in Birds, Most Wanted, Sparrows, Technical

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