The House Sparrow: A Guide To Ireland’s Garden BirdsPetmania Pet Care Advisor
The House Sparrow is one of Ireland’s most recognisable birds and can be found all over Europe. Known as ‘Gealbhan binne’ in Irish, the House Sparrow is the most well-known of the sparrow species. It does not shy away from humans and tends to live close to farms and urban settings. It typically avoids extensive woodlands, grasslands, and areas away from human development.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through how to spot a house sparrow in your garden, what to feed it, and the best way to care for it.
What Does a House Sparrow Look Like?
The house sparrow is typically about 16 cm long, ranging from 14 to 18 cm. Their wingspan ranges from 19–25 centimetres.
House sparrows are recognizable by their large head and bill, dark brown back and heavy dark grey streaking underside. The male has chocolate brown nape, grey crown and large black bib. The female looks different to the male, with a plainer colouring with a buff stripe extending back from eye. Juvenile males tend to have darker throats and white postoculars like adult males, while juvenile females tend to have white throats. They can often be seen in large flocks.
What Do House Sparrows Eat?
The House Sparrow has a varied diet and will feed on almost anything. They will dine on seeds, split grain, buds and insects, especially when feeding young. are opportunistic birds, and will gladly eat any food scraps left in your garden or bins.
How to Feed House Sparrows
House sparrows will happily visit your peanut feeder and take food from your bird table. They are quite aggressive and dominate feeders, so be prepared for them to try and scare off and intimidate other birds at your feeder. To combat this, the best thing to do is to provide more feeders in various different locations, allowing the smaller birds to visit the less-busy feeder during the day.
During the winter you can leave out seeds and grain for the House Sparrow, and plant insect-attracting flowers during the spring and summer. As they feed their young almost exclusively invertebrates, this will give your sparrows with most of their dietary needs.
Where Do House Sparrows Nest?
House Sparrow nests are usually found near human settlements like towns and villages. They can be found in the cavities of buildings, such as under eaves or in holes formed by missing brickwork. They will also happily use nestboxes in your garden.They have been known to remain in one good nesting site for a number of years.
House Sparrows normally produce 2-3 broods of 3-6 eggs. The incubation period of these eggs lasts for 12-14 days.
What Do House Sparrows Sound Like?
The House Sparrow’s voice has been described as a ‘chirrup,’ ‘tschilp,’ or ‘philip,’ this note is made as a contact call by flocking or resting birds, or by males to proclaim nest ownership and looking for a mate.