The Old World Nuisance

House Sparrows have been around so long, it is impossible to imagine North America without them. In Britain, they are on the “red list”, it is too bad we can’t send them a few. We decided to share this old poem (wrote by Fred Mather in 1881) found in Kim Todd’s Tinkering With Eden, A Natural History of Exotics in America

Female House Sparrow


The Old World Nuisance

The Poet may sing in the sparrow’s praise,
But our great ornithologist, Dr. Coues, says,
In language of truth and very plain prose,
That the sparrow’s a nuisance and the sooner he goes,
The better we’re off, so to me it’s quite clear,
That the Old World Sparrow is not needed here.

He defiles our orches, there’s no denying that;
He has ruined my wife’s dress and spoiled my best hat.
He hangs round the bird cage to pilfer the seed,
And gives the canary a foul insect breed.
He never eats worms, let us tell it abroad,
This Old World Sparrow is a terrible fraud.

3 thoughts on “The Old World Nuisance

  1. I’d have to go along with that poem-I like all birds ut the House Sparrow is at the bottom of the list for me.

  2. Am sorry but I disagree with the poem, the poem is obviously from someone who was ignorant of the many factors which make sparrows such an interesting bird. A poet without rhyme or reason? It’s also rather stereotypical in the states to belittle the sparrow. If the ‘old world’ sparrow had bright blue feathers and sang like a cardinal it would become everyones top 10 bird. For me, it’s a winner! I must be a real birdfreak…. 🙂

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