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  House Sparrow  
  (Passer domesticus)  

house sparrow.jpg

  The common House Sparrow (actually a member of the Weaver Finch family) is actually an exotic species of British origin. The species was first introduced to North America in New York City in 1850. Quebec's first intentional introduction of the House Sparrow was in 1868, when Colonel William Rhodes released this species into Quebec City. Two years later, it showed up in Montreal. By 1896, the house sparrow had become abundant. This species is certainly one of the world's best-adapted bird species to human settlement; its range in Quebec corresponds closely with patterns of human settlement such as cities, suburbs, and farms. It's hard to believe that this little bird waits out the long cold winters of Quebec. Nests are commonly located in cavities of buildings or trees, with adult birds remaining near the nest site throughout the year. The original food source of the House Sparrow consisted of the undigested grains found in horse droppings. Not surprisingly, replacement of the horse with the automobile in the early 1900's led to a decline in populations of the House Sparrow in North America. A more recent reduction in House Sparrow populations in Quebec corresponds with the expansion of the House Finch (from western North America) into Eastern North America during the 1940's and 50's. The House Finch has similar habits to the House Sparrow, and probably now competes with the House Sparrow. Who says bird history is boring?  
  Distribution of the House Sparrow in S. Quebec:  
  distribution map.jpg  


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