World Sparrow Day 2013


Coming off a lively discussion on interfering with nature, today March 20th (already in some places), is World Sparrow Day when individuals around the world brainstorm the plight of the disappearing House Sparrow. In my must see post, Sparrows on Parade for World Sparrow Day, I listed many ideas proposed by science looking at various causes to the demise of the House Sparrow. It was well researched and offers many suspect causes.

Large numbers are still in the US, but what science did not really investigate with enough gusto, was the many practices used to eliminate Sparrows as a nuisance. Could an intentional cause be a leading factor?


What I learned from my research,…

there is little sympathy for this small creature, except in places where they all but have vanished. There appears to be indifference all the way to animosity. This animosity causes people to take drastic negative action. The loss also gets people in gear in a positive fashion.


Why is it important? For one, the sake of Passer domesticus. But more to the concern of many, to find a cause before other birds suffer the same fate.


!@*#$%^&* Sparrows

If you search on the little brown bird, you get links with titles like, Managing Sparrows, Keeping House Sparrows at Bay, Death to House Sparrows, Sparrow Traps, Discourage House Sparrows, and even Those gosh darn !@*#$%^&* Sparrows.


It is sad when a bird, any bird is so maligned and hated.


Please take a moment and view the post, Sparrows on Parade for World Sparrow Day. Gardeners everywhere can help by joining in the awareness, possibly even offering a few suggestions on the decline. Since there is such a concerted effort to kill sparrows, is it any wonder that they are in decline in some places?


It really is hard to have a positive opinion on current practices to eradicate them, because it is cruel and omnipotent on our part. But finding out what is killing them is important, because it may save species that we see as desirable from suffering the same fate.


I hope you at least enjoyed the photos of the House Sparrow. I enjoy them in the garden and do not have the issues with them that I read elsewhere.


Seed on the Beak.

They are fun to photograph even though not as pretty as other songbirds.


They are comical to watch as they fight for spots at the feeder. Even if you loathe the small bird, you have to at least wonder why they are disappearing. It may be something we are doing that can be stopped.




Suet Beak

Up next, a very cool website if you like looking at birds, insects and flowers around the world in artfully done photographs. See what 30 other photographers around the world have created. Different and one of a kind. I didn’t see any sparrows there though, seems I have covered the market on Sparrows! And a series coming? The Best Gardening Advice…

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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59 Responses to World Sparrow Day 2013

  1. I can honor world sparrow day, but not on behalf of house sparrows. I love white crowned and white throated sparrows. I may not participate in eradicating the house sparrows, but I’m not going to celebrate them.

    • I think most in the US share your sentiment. World Sparrow Day came about because of the decline of the House Sparrow from urban environments in India. I am not sure it started to celebrate them, although with the new website it seems to have taken that direction.

      In the UK they don’t celebrate them to my knowledge, but are worried as to why there is less and less of them. That is my take on the problem too. The question needs an answer. As I said in the post, they don’t really cause problems here. It is the same with many invasive plants in this area. They do not seed prolifically here either. What most react to is what happens in their own regions, and extrapolate that in a world view opinion. I am NOT saying in anyway you have done that and I do appreciate your view on this bird. I have read enough and talked to enough experts to know why others feel as they do. I just find many having issues in places where others do not.

      It is much the same with Squirrel Appreciation Day, except that one, it was developed more tongue-in-cheek. But it still carries the look at squirrels in a positive light and also brings to the forefront some issues facing them.

      • Squirrel appreciation day is not a bad idea. I would also be supportive of opossum appreciation day, talk about an undervalued animal. And no, I am not kidding.

        • I bet I could say nice things about opossums, but one lives under my neighbor’s porch and it is a mean critter. It used to run out and growl with teeth bared at my Akita. That little thing was lucky I never let my Akita take its head off too. It was brazen and stood its ground. There, I guess that was something nice, it was fearless.

  2. A.M.B. says:

    It would be hard to avoid developing some degree of sympathy for the sparrows after seeing your beautiful pictures of them! Thanks for this lovely post. I’ve told you before that sparrows are my least favorite backyard visitors (apart from squirrels!), but I don’t wish harm on them.

  3. Happy World Sparrow Day. I had no idea that people didn’t like them.

    • Well, the bluebird lovers actually are the ones on sparrow hunt and kill. I see why, but the methods used are often cruel and inhumane. BTW, off for surgery today. I will call and let you know how it comes out.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    Lovely photos. We learn much from you that I personally knew nothing about. I must have been stuck in a hospital too long as a nurse caring for others! On that note- I can’t see how any one can harm any of Gods creatures.

  5. Well, I’ve got my bird feeder out and have seen sparrows near it, though they don’t seem to eat from it. (No birds seem to be attracted to it.) I guess you can lead a sparrow to bird seed, but …

  6. I didn’t realize how hated house sparrows are. I think their brown and black feathers are really beautiful and they are very photogenic birds. I had to go back and read your list of why they are so hated and I haven’t experienced these issues. I get nesting bluebirds and their eggs are more often eaten by snakes than killed by sparrows. It is a little ironic that they were introduced to the US as a form of pest control and now they are considered pests. We can’t have our cake and eat it too.

    • Here, I have garter snakes. I wonder what they are up to eating? I hope it is slugs, please be slugs!!!! I am with you on the irony. We do so much of that, interfering in what nature provides, it only is fitting to get what we deserve when we do it too.

  7. janechese says:

    I like hearing them in the morning when I awake but that has ended or quieted down with the snow coming back.I was surprised about bluebird lovers killing them but not too surprised when it meant the demise of the latter.I don’t know why we keep interfering when we know that things go out of balance but maybe it is that way in nature whether humans interfere or not.

    • I know, when you click links I leave in posts and see what the sparrows have done to bluebirds, it sickens one just to see. But House Sparrows were brought here by people and native bluebirds never had to contend with House Sparrow before, so what does one expect? Sparrows are here now, and that is nature. So killing sparrow chicks, smashing eggs, and the poisonings, well I doubt nature had that in the grand plan.

  8. Thank you for your wonderful blog and bringing to light this issue about the house sparrow. I think that the subject of “invasive species” is far more complicated than scientists would like to admit and if you think about it humans might be defined as such. With this in mind I have wondered about how the spread and change of plants and animals work in the long term. In the plant world some species deemed invasive and non-native play a part in reclaiming land that has been spoiled by humans. There is actually a progression of plant species over time that can ultimately lead to reforestation. Some of this can be seen in interesting articles on the web about abandoned places that include photos where you see “weeds” growing in the cracks in concrete and making room for some of the shorter lived trees that are also deemed to be invasive and non-native. Eventually there is a series of plant successions where more desirable (in human terms) trees flourish.

    Then there is the poor maligned invasive “weed” called the dandelion. People have tried to eradicate this plant from their gardens and lawns, yet it is an important early food source for honeybees and native pollinators. Right now our pollinators are in crisis and part of this is the poisons that people use to eliminate “weeds” and to grow our food (which now includes building insecticides right into the plant genetics). People don’t tend to see that poisons work just as effectively on the plants and animals that are desirable as those that aren’t. Another cause in the pollinator decline is the lack of diversity in the plants that they need for food and this includes killing off dandelions. I see the attempted demise of the dandelion to be closely linked to the attitude people have about the house sparrows.

    I hope that we can learn from the house sparrow and the pollinator crisis and change our hearts and minds about our connection to our world and all the beings that share it with us. I think beautiful blogs like yours are a vital step in bringing awareness. Again, I thank you!

  9. Your photographs are beautiful and make me think of this verse: ” I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top”__Psalm 102:7, King James Version (KJV)

  10. Pat says:

    I love our little resident flock of House Sparrows.

    • I am so happy to hear that. I like mine too. The white one is back and the gold one is still here. I have been blessed with some very special sparrows. Maybe somehow they knew I was not one to make them leave.

  11. Love when you capture them in flight – oh so cool – thanks for sharing:) Happy Tuesday!

  12. Emily Heath says:

    Poor little sparrows. We need less paving and concreting over of our gardens, and less intensive mowing of lawns – which would benefit all wildlife, not just sparrows. I love your photos.

  13. I hate when people try to eradicate the crows in many areas as well or the geese or other animals. I hope we can find why many species are suffering including bats, sparrows and the list goes on. I think we can all posit some theories though. Your pictures capture these sweet birds who nest in my bluebird houses every year and have about 3 clutches through late summer. They are already claiming the houses in March before the bluebirds return and the tree swallows aggressively come in and try to oust them. Always an interesting series of altercations.

  14. Phil Lanoue says:

    Fantastic shots of these amazing cuties!

  15. todd says:

    Imagine a country where no one kills anything, biodiversity is celebrated and wildlife roams free. I like to watch all the creatures in all the seasons because they are in the present moment.

  16. b-a-g says:

    I don’t hate sparrows, but I suppose I don’t really notice them – looking out for blue tits or robins instead. Your photos have made me see them in a new light.

  17. Denise says:

    Your posts are always very informative Donna. It is unbelievable that there are people who hate sparrows. Must be the same people that hate trees.

  18. Scott Weber says:

    Those must be the best sparrow photos I’ve ever seen!

  19. Any sparrow is a good sparrow in my book. I have house sparrows and so far they have been quite cooperative with the other sparrows as well.

  20. I came from Donna’s “Garden Club” post when I saw where you are from. I live in Amherst NY and am a novice gardener, but bird watcher and feeder. The problem with the HOSP is that they are non-native and anything non-native causes a problem. Like starlings, they out compete native birds especially for nesting and especially for species like blue birds who are on the decline and the HOSP are part of the problem.They are aggressive and will kill a nesting bluebird and nest on top of her. I have seen them chase chickadees, tufted titmice and other birds out of bird houses so I took them down which was sad.

    I have never had a sharpie or cooper’s hawk take a house sparrow and I have plenty. Could I gas them? No, but I am sad every year when starlings chase wood ducks out of our nesting box as they too have trouble finding nesting as they nest in trees. I am also sad at the number of birds who are killed by cats who may also be considered non-native in our gardens… but I won’t kill them. …Michelle

  21. Brian Comeau says:

    Sorry Donna but I don’t understand what all the hate is about with the sparrow; didn’t know they are such a problem for some people. I know squirrels and a few other animals can be pest. We had a gopher last summer mining under our deck. Caught it live and released him/her in the woods. Pretty simple. I’m not a fan of a lot of things… spiders, hornets or snakes to name a few, but they are all part of nature and the loss of one affects another.

    • Sadly, it is what I was saying in another post. One creature is valued and another not. One is cute and another not. One gets to live where another does not. That is nature and the funny thing is, people really don’t see much nature in action. I know I would have a hard time living where animals kill each other daily, but it would be something I would have to accept. I was just reading where a photographer was talking about his best work, and it was of animals attacking in Africa. His best shots were of the gore and throws of life leaving the prey, but he could not sell those images. Too graphic for the viewing public. But that is nature.

  22. Along with iPads, laptops, mobile phones and miscellaneous other technological advances, the biggest difference between my childhood and my children’s, is the disappearance of the house sparrow. They were everywhere when I was growing up, but until recently, my kids had never seen any. We feed them in our garden and we are delighted every time we see them. What a difference a generation makes.

    Your photos are beautiful. Thank you for drawing attention to World Sparrow Day.

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  24. Patrick says:

    I didn’t pay attention to sparrows growing up in Sydney but found it interesting they were also in my new home in Kansas. Where aren’t they in the world??? I must confess Donna paying for bushels of birdseed put me in the sparrow haters corner. But your photography has inspired me to take a closer look at those by my window feeders. I also saw your white sparrow. Just gorgeous.

    I’ve been meaning to ask since you’re so prolific with your posts, how much time do you spend on your blog?



    • Thank you for stopping in Patrick. The sparrows are disappearing predominately in India and the UK for reasons yet unknown. The white sparrow is an oddity and I have seen it return in late winter, but I have taken the feeders down now that we are leaving March, so I doubt I will see her again this summer.

      I don’t spend as much time as one would think on the blog. If you saw my art in the hawk, birds and the lion, they do take me a while to paint, over an hour. I really don’t do them for the posts, but have a number of people following my art, so I post them. I have 20 posts in the hopper all the time, so it is easy just to load one. The post on the Lion painting was done a month ago, so it just waited a turn. The garden posts coming up, were done when we had feet of snow, and are only getting their time this coming week. Many posts are fast written because they are my thoughts and things I know well, as opposed things I research, which take much longer. I automate images too, so that is fast. Hope you had a nice Easter if you celebrate.

  25. thequeenofseaford says:

    Love your close ups of the males, their browns and tan with the black accents are beautiful. I think their antics are similar to the Chickadees. Cute little birds.

    • I think they behave much differently up here. The chickadees are the little terrors in the yard. They dive bomb my head when I go outside near the feeder. Sparrows retreat to the shrubs. I never got near a sparrow.

  26. I’m sad that this little creatures are killed and hunted down to extinction!


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