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Bizarre House Sparrow behaviour (not for the squeamish) (1 Viewer)

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
I've held back from posting the following, as it's short on detail, I didn't get a photo, and it seems extreme and unlikely behaviour. And it could even call into question my competence as an observer, and whether I'd dreamed the whole thing. Anyway, here goes.

About 20 years ago, I looked out of my bedroom window one morning. Back then, House Sparrows Passer domesticus were often to be seen perched on a tree branch quite close, only 12 to 15 feet away. On this occasion I was amazed to see, among a row of sparrows, one female which had a male bird hanging from its bill. The lower mandible had apparently pierced the male's eye, the female supporting the entire weight of the dangling male, which was making twitching movements and clearly still alive.

As soon as I took this in, I rushed to another room to fetch my camera. On return, all the sparrows had gone and there were no other birds in sight. Of course, I've no idea of the events that preceded this, and can't imagine what might have led to it. I don't know how physically feasible it seems for the female to bear that much weight while remaining perched, but it's what I saw.

Any suggestions which might help explain this would be welcome. At the time, I thought about reporting it to British Birds, but decided not to for fear of being labelled a crackpot.
 

Tero

Retired
United States
House sparrows are mostly aggressive in nest hole related activities. They will kill intruders and other species competing for the hole.
 

Jonno52

John (a bad birdwatcher)
Supporter
United Kingdom
House sparrows are mostly aggressive in nest hole related activities. They will kill intruders and other species competing for the hole.
Wow. Thanks for the information Tero. I know breeding birds can be highly aggressive, but was surprised that one bird could physically carry that much weight.
 
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