Thursday, 8 November 2012

House Sparrow Passer domesticus and
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
    
    I ran into a woman the other day while birding at Laurel Creek C.A. who confided to me that she loved birds, except for those nasty, nefarious House Sparrows who evict bluebirds from their boxes, and she wasn't too fond of starlings either. She said that if she had a chance to kill House Sparrows she wouldn't hesitate to do it. I was a little taken aback by the tone of her venomous torrent of vitriol the moment she got onto the topic of House Sparrows. She was transformed from a moderate, agreeable person to talk to, to a rabid destroyer of birds.
    I have heard arguments about these two species before, even from fellow birders, and I have to confess that I am always a little perturbed when people advocate their removal, impossible though it would be. We should remember that first of all we brought them here, and second of all that they represent very successful members of our avifauna. Perhaps in some ways they validate Darwin's notion of survival of the fittest.
    It always occurs to me that maybe what people don't like is that they see too much similarity with our own species. We also are aggressive, belligerent, use force to settle our differences and don't hesitate to displace anyone who gets in our way - just ask indigenous people anywhere in the world about invaders bent on death and destruction. 

                                                             House Sparrow

                              Common Starling
     It's time to stop harping on about these two species, cease calling them aliens and accept them for what they are, successful birds that have found their niche and continue to occupy it. 

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