It’s a new month which means a new Animal Ambassador! The lucky one for this month is…Peepers! Peepers is our adorable European House Sparrow. She came to Zovargo in March 2015 from Project Wildlife after being raised by people for about a year. She was a relinquished bird that was given to the wildlife rescue in hopes of rehabilitation and release. However, she had already imprinted on humans which made her a poor candidate for release into the wild. We also suspect that she has a wing injury because she has some trouble getting lift when she flies, this is why she only makes appearances at super special Zovargo events that suit all of her needs.
European House Sparrows have a cool super power, and that is that they are really adaptable and have learned to live in various climates and locations throughout the world! This means even though they are European in name you can find a large abundance of these sparrows through-out the Americas. This resilient little bird first made it's way to the America's in the early 1850's. The first hundred or so birds were released in Brooklyn, NY and in the years following, they quickly spread to the Rocky Mountains and beyond! Absent from extensive woodlands, forests, grasslands, and deserts - the House Sparrow makes their way by living by living near humans. In the Americas they live near farms, and residential areas where they can easily find food such as grains, weed seeds, insects, other items left behind by people.
The oldest known House Sparrow living in the wild was...13 years, 4 months old! They truly are amazing, hardy little birds that have adapted so well to thriving across the globe. The House Sparrow is found on every continent across the globe, excluding the North and South poles.
Because of these large, wide spread populations, house sparrows are of ‘Least Concern’ as rated by the IUCN so they are not close to extinction. Changes in some countries that have moved away from raising livestock and have grown into commercial industries have impacted the sparrow's population due to the decrease in livestock grains as a food source. Competition with other nest box using species has also impacted the populations of the House Sparrow. While they are not endangered, it's still important to avoid keeping them as pets.
If you come across a baby bird or an injured bird, turn to the expert rehabilitators rather than trying to care for it yourself. Peepers was raised by people her whole life, so she doesn’t have a chance in the wild now. She helps Zovargo to educate about how important wildlife is and that all birds should belong in the wild – flying free.
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BNA Database