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Concerning Vernacular Names of Passer Domesticus

H. H. Mitchell
Publication Information
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study

Concerning Vernacular Names of Passer domesticus

In looking over THE CONDOR of January, 1916, I notice, in treating of a publication by Ernest Harold Baynes, that the reviewer, among other things, says: “The English Sparrow, or European Sparrow as Mr. Baynes calls it, apparently has no terrors for the author;” etc. This brought back to me the thought that has often occurred to me before, why this unwelcome alien should be so persistently known as the “English” Sparrow. If the bird was originally brought over from England, one would not consider the name unfair, but England is a small spot on the map of Europe, and who knows from what country it was really introduced into North America.

I have found no record as to this; Chapman, in his “Handbook”, states that it was “first introduced into the United States at Brooklyn, N. Y., in 1851 and 1852”; but from what country and by whom is not stated. I believe that I am not alone in the opinion that “House Sparrow” or “European Sparrow” would be far better, and more correct.

H. H. Mitchell

Provincial Museum, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

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