There are a few exceptions, but I have not seen a natural Minnesota bird in my backyard for nearly a year. The House sparrow, a territorial and invasive species, has taken up residence in nearby private homes and commercial buildings and are propagating unabated.
The property adjoining mine has 14 House sparrow nests built on porches and inside the roofs. These nests will introduce 300 House sparrows to the population by the summer’s end. If you take a stroll through the neighborhood, the House sparrow is predominant and pervasive.
According to a research study by the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, professors from Cornell, Clemson, et. al., cite that the House Sparrow is a factor in the dissemination of diseases including tuberculosis, encephalitis and the dissemination of parasites and household pests that include bed bugs, clothes moths, fleas, lice, mites and ticks — a big happy family indeed — parents, kids, pets, sparrows, diseases, parasites and pests all under one roof.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refers to House Sparrows as a “pest species” that “will bully or kill cavity-nesting birds.” These cavity-nesting birds includes bluebirds, chickadees and nuthatches.
An email to a unit owner of the neighboring property, to the neighborhood association, to the City of Minneapolis, to the MN Department of Agriculture and to the MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) resulted in no action being taken to remove the nests and the seal the entrances. I did receive lots of suggestions, however. The most ridiculous of them was to contact the Better Business Bureau.
On March 22, 2015, Jim Williams, the Star Tribune’s WingNut, posted the article “World Sparrow Day: we missed it.” In the article, Mr. Williams referred to the House sparrow as the “bird ambassadors in the city.”
Interestingly, according to the MN DNR, the rat belongs to the same category as the House sparrow. Perhaps we can increase their numbers in a similar way by allowing them to reside in homes and commercial buildings, propagating unabated and call them our “furry ambassadors to the city.”
Curtis W. Naumann