You see them everywhere: at the park, on the sidewalk, near restaurants, Europe. They’re those little brown birds. The ones you see everywhere. The ones that stay just out of reach as they watch you eat a sandwich, waiting for you to drop a crumb or two. Then, once you do, they drop to the ground and fight over it. Ever wonder what they are? Well, I’ll tell you anyway.
Long Answer: The Passer Domesticus, or house sparrow, is a common species of Eurasian bird. They are probably the most common species of wild bird. Like many sparrows, they’re small, cute, and enjoy eating. These birds live in groups and are almost always found near human habitation. But how did a Eurasian bird become so common in North America? Blame the Victorians. Park commissioners first released house sparrows into Central Park in1864. Then, in 1877, the American Acclimatization Society (a group dedicated to bringing European flora and fauna to America – good idea, right?) built nest boxes throughout the city to help the sparrows breed. They also released European starlings in order to fill Central Park with all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare. Apparently both the starlings and sparrows found America to their liking, as they can now be found from coast to coast. So, next time you see one of these little brown birds, remember that they too are European colonizers in America.
Short Answer: They’re house sparrows. You’re welcome.