Long Reads

Long Reads: Meet the Little Brown Bird That Holds a Mirror Up to Humanity

If you live in an urban area, you are likely familiar with the ubiquitious House Sparrow, even you you can’t put a name to its somewhat drab appearance. House Sparrows are common visitors to city birdfeeders who have lived alongside us for thousands of years. Like many of the urban wildlife species who live in close proximity to people, House Sparrows have learned how to benefit from that relationship, taking advantage of human spaces in a variety of ways – including opening automatic doors to gain access to buildings.

As with many species who live closely with us, House Sparrows receive their fair share of derision, a problem that is made worse by the fact that in North America, House Sparrows are an introduced species that can have negative impacts on our native songbirds.

In Meet the Little Brown Bird That Holds a Mirror Up to Humanity, Rosemary Mosco digs into the history of our relationship with the House Sparrow, why they were introduced and how they reflect our history and connection to nature. You’ll never look at these little brown birds the same way again.

A small brown and grey bird perches on a branch.
A male House Sparrow. Photo by Hobbyfotowiki, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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