Since it was introduced to North America in the late 19th century, the house sparrow has received little love. “Nothing can be urged in its favor,” declared an 1891 editorial in the New York Times. A few years later, the same newspaper deemed the birds “rats in the air.” Adding insult to injury, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has long kept the house sparrow on its unceremonious list of species of “least concern.” (more…)
Tag Archives: house sparrows
Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, say researchers from the University of Exeter, the RSPB and the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS) in a new study. However numbers of some less common birds have risen.
The study, published in the journal Ecology Letters, reveals a decrease of 421 million individual birds over 30 years. Around 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings, highlighting the need for greater efforts to halt the continent-wide declines of our most familiar countryside birds. (more…)
*Spread highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats*
After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well established throughout North and South America.
Both the mosquitoes that transmit it and the birds that are important hosts for the virus are abundant in areas that have been modified by human activities.
As a result, transmission of West Nile virus is highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats. (more…)