The Clerk in the Country

Friday 16th July 2021

Why don’t sparrows sing?

Thank you to one of our readers who inspired this blog entry by posing the question: why don’t sparrows sing?  I consulted a near neighbour on this point and, as expected, his reply was “Chirp”.

Last summer I heard a great deal of chirping from this little house sparrow and interpreted it as follows:

Chirp – Come and see my fine new nest.

Chirp – I have chosen a splendid location half-way up this building.

Chirp – I have skilfully wedged open this flap with twigs.

Chirp – Don’t worry about the fan mechanism at the back.

Chirrup (particularly triumphant) – I have immobilised it with a truly astounding quantity of dried grass.

I wouldn’t have minded so much his takeover of the bathroom extractor fan if he had found a mate and raised a brood of chicks, but the only female attracted to the fine new nest was a fly, whose offspring made their way into the world via the bathroom by the dozen.

This year my neighbour’s call is slightly different: Chirp – I have been thwarted by a grille, but is certainly more successful, as he is keeping company with a female house sparrow.