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.

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    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    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 wildlife@RSPB.org.uk where our dedicated team can respond to such questions. I hope this helps :)