Is it normal for a sparrow to be out a night?

The last few weeks a sparrow appears around 9pm. It’s pitch black outside until my Jack Russells run out putting security lights on. The sparrow sits on a feeding shelf, all huddled up and feathers fluffed out. I have recently put out some crumbs and a couple of sultanas which it eats. It’s here for over an hour then disappears. Is this normal?

  • Hello Ayrshire Lass, sorry no one has replied to you, sometimes if there are a few posting on the first page, other posts are put back. I really don't know to be honest, I know they will find bird boxes to shelter in if it has been wet, windy or very cold. If it was fluffed up it may have been keeping warm or may have been ill, and maybe that is why it was about later on. Hopefully someone will have more knowledge.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • I'm not sure if any one on here can give you a proper answer. Streetlights are causing birds to be more active at night in general but I don't know if this is relevant here. As the sparrow is flying in and out again and also feeding then I would guess at least there isn't too much to be worried about. I suppose birds must fly in the dark sometimes, eg when their roost is disturbed, so perhaps it started as just that, and after a while it returned to the roost hoping the disturbance was over. I couldn't guess why it would become regular though.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Nigel O and Catlady. Thanks for your reply. We have low energy streetlights about our village although my security lights are bright. Tonight after the dogs came in, the sparrow flew over to the water bowl and after a few sips flew back. As the weather forecast is frost and snow this weekend maybe we should put out a little shelter.
  • Hi Ayrshire Lass,

    I can't add much more to the above from Catlady and Nigel O. I would say if you can put out a bird box or some kind of shelter it can only be beneficial for either this Sparrow if it needs it or something else to roost in for winter. I have seen small flocks of Sparrow like birds flying about in the early evening when its dark, presumably on their way to bed.If it is was fluffed up it could be sleeping, particularly if its beck is tucked in as well.
  • Hi there :) Though most birds will return to their roost before dark (or perhaps a short while after), individuals can on occasion be observed to partake in unusual behaviour. It may be that the bird has yet to find a flock to settle in with (sparrows are communal), or even that it may have been hand-reared following abandonment/injury and has not yet adjusted/re-adjusted to wild living. Usually, this is observed to resolve with time. It shouldn't be something of concern for now as the bird is still eating and returning each day, which would suggest it is in reasonably good health.

    Unfortunately, we don't currently have the resources to monitor every forum post, however any wildlife-based queries can be emailed to where our dedicated team can respond to such questions. I hope this helps :)
  • Hi,

    I have been feeding sparrows, other birds, and squirrels for more than 15 years on my terrace. It's nice to see some of them living at my home in small Amazon parcel boxes that I have hung for them. They have made nests in them. I have also hung bird feeders everywhere around my home, so now it looks like there are 6-7 sparrow couples living at my home with me and my family, and everyone takes care of them.

    Regarding your question about whether it's normal to see them active at night, I would say yes, but only if they are feeling safe. In my case, I have seen sparrow pairs feeding their young ones at night. They fly around the house, picking spiders, insects, and cooked rice from the walls and floor.

    You saw a sparrow at night, maybe because they have been living around your house for a long time, and they are now very well acquainted with the area where you saw the sparrow. There might be darkness outside, but near the feeding shelf, there is surely some well-lit space. You can look for it, and you will likely find the nest nearby for sure.
  • Hello Sujeet

    Are you aware this thread was last responded to almost four years ago, December 2019?

    You have certainly made your sparrows, and I presume they're house sparrows, very welcome, and a pleasure to see.

    With our 24/7 society, street lighting, security lighting and many other forms of night time lighting, that will also encourage not just sparrows, but many other daytime animals and birds to be active.



  • Please be aware the these horrible creatures, the house sparrows KILL our native small birds. They are not native to this country, and they kill other birds. I had chickadees nesting, they killed one of the adults. Last year they killed one of our blue bird fledgling babies.  Please don't feed them!

  • We don't generally get chickadees the other side of the Big Pond (thuis being a .UK site).

    And remember, the US was invaded by Europeans who deliberately introduced e.g. the house sparrow. Because they missed Blighty :)