Since its introduction to North America in the 1850s, the House Sparrow has managed to colonize most human-altered environments on the continent. The Rocky Mountains, for the most part, remain free from this aggressive and adaptable songbird. It is only in towns, ranchlands and agricultural areas that the House Sparrow has penetrated into the Rockies. The House Sparrow is well known to most North Americans, because it lives in abundance in all North American cities and towns. It was introduced around Brooklyn, New York, as part of a plan to control the numbers of insects that were damaging grain and cereal crops. Contrary to popular opinion at the time, the diet of these Eurasian sparrows is largely vegetarian, and their impact on crop pests has been minimal. House Sparrows are not closely related to the other North American sparrows; they belong to the family of Old World sparrows (Passeridae).
I.D.: Breeding male: gray crown; black bib and bill; chestnut nape; light gray cheek; white wing bar; dark, mottled upperparts; gray underparts. Winter male: smaller black bib; light-colored bill. Female: plain gray-brown overall; buffy eyebrow; streaked upperparts; indistinct facial patterns; grayish, unstreaked underparts.
Size: L 51/2-61/2 in. (14-17 cm).
Range: locally abundant year-round resident at middle to low elevations throughout the Rockies.
Habitat: townsites, agricultural areas, railyards and developed areas up to the montane; absent from undeveloped areas.
Nesting: often communal; in a nest box, natural cavity or building; when not in a cavity, a large, dome-shaped nest is woven with grass and other plant fibers; female incubates 4-6 eggs for 10-13 days.
Feeding: gleans the ground and vegetation for seeds, insects and fruit; frequently visits feeding stations.
Voice: familiar, plain cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep.
Similar Species: male is distinctive; female is distinctively drab.