An often over-looked, ‘taken-for-granted’, bird is the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). It was introduced to this country around 1900 and is regarded as a naturalised import from Europe and India. As the scientific name suggests, the House Sparrow favours human habitation and is frequently seen in car parks picking up crumbs or feeding on squashed bits of food. I once saw a pair of them swooping down from the rafters of a large supermarket to peck at the freshly baked bread rolls. This one was finding food on a street.

I do not recall having noted a House Sparrow in my garden, but then visits from the indigenous Cape Sparrows are rare too. Innocuous looking they might be, yet these birds are widely considered as an agricultural pest in grain-growing areas and as a general nuisance because they compete aggressively with indigenous birds.


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