House sparrows disappearing?

I live in the south bay area of Los Angeles. As long as I have been alive the little sparrows were everywhere. You could not go outside without the chirping just being part of the background noise.

  I have not seen a single  one around here in over 2 months now?? Nothing on the internet I can find, I do see them still a little north and a little south but not in the numbers I used to see them. It would ne nice if they were gone but I still have to wonder why they are disappearing. I may have posted on this a couple of months ago. Any theories? I do know that in recent years the last of the open spaces have disappeared this may be all there is to it. We also had a west nile die off of crows in the area recently.

I’m always hearing about how bad the air pollution is in LA. Is it possible that it’s gotten too bad for sparrows to survive there?

I live right near the coast and we have good air quality form the ocean breezes.

God, I fucking wish. Those little bastards take up residence on the west side of our house and won’t shut the fuck up at 6am.

Now that it’s been brought up, I can’t remember seeing one in a very long time. When I was a kid, they were everywhere, and built their nests in our carport. Most people consider them a nuisance, but still I wonder what happened to them.

I found this:

I’m no birder, I don’t know if a Rufous-crowned sparrow is the same as a house sparrow. Sounds right, though - rufous sounds like something that lives among roofs, which crown houses. Makes sense, right?

I live in San Francisco, and there are a ton of them on our street. That’s where I mostly notice them, walking to the train station.

It is not. Unlike virtually every other type of critter, birds actually have somewhat codified common names in English. A House Sparrow is a House Sparrow and is never some other sort of sparrow.

And House Sparrows don’t typically hate on urbanization - cities and suburbs are where they thrive in NA ( where they are not native ). However pollution could be a problem. They are undergoing steep declines in Britain and some other areas and I believe the reasons for the urban declines are still up in the air. I haven’t heard of or noticed any particular decline here in northern California, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some. But it could be something very local, even neighborhood-specific - some people trap them as pests and localized epidemic disease is also always possible.

ETA: In fact I just realized there is one cheeping determinedly outside my window as I type this ;).

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Here a photo I snapped recently of one of the little fuckers that nests under the A/C unit in my living room.

There are plenty of them near where I live, in Maryland.

The near-ubiquity of house sparrows leads people to think they’re like post-apocalyptic cockroaches: able to survive anything, anywhere. In reality, like all birds, they’re dependent on a couple of non-negotiable things: namely, food and nesting sites. If you like in a neighborhood where all the lawns are manicured and sprayed, they won’t find either the weed seeds or the insects they need to eat. And it’s also possible the built environment is constructed in such a way as to deprive them of nesting sites. Sparrows are cavity nesters, so they need, at worst, something cavity-like – a bit of drainpipe, an electrical weatherhead, a certain kind of dryer vent. If people don’t like sparrows much, they can easily remove or stop up anything that might offer itself as a nesting site.

Another possible explanation, though it seems less likely to me, is avian pox, which I read recently has been heavily affecting house finches on the West Coast. House finches and house sparrows are often in close proximity, and possibly the disease can be spread from one to the other.

Do you really think that the in the absence of house sparrows, the OP’s neighborhood is suddenly going to be recolonized by native birds?

I may not be the best cleaner on earth, but at least I’ve never had a bird nest in my living room. :wink:


Worse yet, he’s evidently got trees!

I’m expecting a pair to take up residence on my front porch in a month or two, you’re welcome to them. I can UPS or FEDEX them to you.

I am no big fan of the sparrows but it does concern me that a disease or something may be spreading in the area. Pigeons and crows seem to be doing ok, doves seem normal. Songbirds around here are usually just visitors in December and January. Blue jays and mocking birds I haven’t seen for quite a long time and they used to be regulars, haven’t seen a robin in several years.

I just love the little critters. They have been around forever where I live, and are not considered an invasive species here.

Thisand thisseem to suggest that they are affected by radiation from cellphone towers, while hereis a contrary opinion. The science is not settled yet; I am sure urbanization and diminishing sources of food and shelter do contribute, too.

Whatever ails them, I hope they bounce back.

No, “rufous” means red. It refers to the reddish-brown coloration of the feathers on top of the bird’s head.