House Sparrow populations have declined by about 3% per year resulting in a cumulative decline of nearly 80% between 1966 and 2019, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 740 million and rates them 9 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Scale, indicating a species of low conservation concern. House Sparrows are fierce competitors for nest holes in trees and nest boxes. These are valuable commodities for birds that require them for breeding and unfortunately, nonnative House Sparrows squeeze out some of our native cavity-nesting species. After becoming common in North American cities where they were intentionally released in the nineteenth century, House Sparrows colonized farmyards and barns during the twentieth century. With the recent industrialization of farms, House Sparrows now seem to be declining across most of their range.
Breeding season is January through April and June through July. The eggs are white, usually three to five in a clutch. Males feed their mates while the female incubates the eggs, and both parents feed the hatchlings. This type of alloparenting is common among parrots. Youngsters fledge at around five weeks of age.
Pet parrots can be incredible if demanding friends, but for people more accustomed to fluffy mammalian companions, they can present some unexpected challenges. The long-lived, intelligent and highly social birds need especially high amounts of attention and enrichment, or else they can pick up bad habits and find themselves bored and stressed to the point where they pluck out their own feathers.
While some pet parrots come from breeders, trade in exotic parrots is big business around the globe, and it contributes significantly to their decline in the wild. Thankfully trafficking in wild birds has been less of a problem in the U.S. since the passage of the 1992 Wild Bird Conservation Act and CITES restrictions on importing exotic species.
Though parrots do have some taste glands at the backs of their throats, most of their 300 or so taste buds are located on the roofs of their mouths. Compared with the 10,000 taste buds in a human mouth, the birds' palate may not seem like much, but parrots do show definite preferences for certain foods.
Little is known about wild parrot behavior, in part because the canopy-dwelling birds are hard to see and follow. Also, GPS-tracking studies of parrots are extremely uncommon, since the birds are adept at removing foreign objects from their bodies. But a 2015 study published in The Auk might help scientists better track these elusive animals. By encasing GPS trackers in bite-proof plastic, the researchers were able to track a group of keas in New Zealand without any obvious ill effects on the birds.
In the western Atlantic Ocean, although there has been an 80 percent reduction in certain nesting populations since 1967, Brazil has seen an increase in their nesting population. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Gabon currently hosts the largest olive ridley nesting population in the region with 1,000 to 5,000 breeding females per year.
Birdwatchers are sometimes driven to despair by the challenge of tellingthe various flycatchers apart. Many of the species look virtually thesame. Birds have to be able to recognize their own kind, of course, atleast during the breeding season, but the flycatchers evidently do somostly by voice. In the Sonoran Desert, for example, the Brown-crestedand Ash-throated Flycatchers are almost identical except for size, buttheir songs and calls are different. Perhaps capitalizing on their needfor vocal distinctions, many flycatchers have “dawn songs,”seldomheard later in the day. 1e1e36bf2d