Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Ben Bailey

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the house sparrow.
The house sparrow is an Old World sparrow found in the neighborhoods of Pagosa Springs. They live here year-round and are almost always present downtown. The easiest spot to find them is along the Riverwalk in the pine trees on the north side of the hot springs footbridge.
In the summer, when people are dining outside, this social sparrow often is found picking up crumbs underfoot. Breeding male house sparrows have a characteristic black bib, white cheek, rufous-colored nape and black beak. All house sparrows have backs/wings covered in stripes of black and brown. You have a good chance of spotting a busy flock of house sparrows with your plain eye, but if not, stop and listen. Their constant chatter will give them away even when they’re buried in the bushes.
The first house sparrows were introduced into Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1851. The species spread to the Rocky Mountains within 50 years of coming to North America. They are resilient non-natives that thrive in human habitats.
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