alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have House Sparrows been spotted? Have you seen a House Sparrow? Take a picture and post the location on the interactive map.
alienspecies.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/content/sightings

Click on the link to visit the Alien Sightings map on the Aliens Among Us website. Which species have made their way into your neighbourhood? Where have House Sparrows been spotted? Have you seen a House Sparrow? Take a picture and post the location on the interactive map.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of female House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, back view

Female House Sparrow showing back plumage

Royal British Columbia Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of female House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, side view

Female House Sparrow side view

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of male House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, back and side view

Male House Sparrow showing back and side plumage

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Photo of male House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, side view

Male House Sparrow side view

Royal BC Museum

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Video of Royal BC Museum Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Gavin Hanke, talking about the introduced House Sparrow, Passer domes

Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum, talks about House Sparrows, Passer domesticus.

Royal BC Museum – Where the Past Lives

Aliens Among Us

House Sparrow

Gavin Hanke, Curator, Vertebrate Zoology, Royal BC Museum

I’m Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum.  House Sparrows are your classic LBJ – Little Brown Jobbies.  Males and females are quite distinctive, females are more or less drab brown, they are not all that colourful.  Males have a chestnutty to a rusty back and a black bib.

They are easy to identify relative to other birds within the city.  The House Sparrow’s an urban bird so it’s interactions with native ecosystems is quite limited.  It does really well around humans.  Wherever there is a barn, a house, these guys will do very well.  The name says it all. 

What they will do is compete with birds within the city or within towns for food but more importantly they compete with them for nest sites.  They will eject other birds from nests and will dominate nesting boxes, bird houses.  When people put up a nest box, this is the kind of bird that really runs for it.  So, if you put up a nest box, you are probably promoting a House Sparrow. 

They are quite aggressive little things.  For such a tiny bird, they are aggressive.  Even on the museum grounds we have them almost attacking people for chunks of their muffins or lunch.  They are very well accustomed to people. 

The real downside to the House Sparrow is the mess.  They soil our yards, they soil, they’ll fly past your car and leave a little dropping on it.  The biggest problem with the House Sparrow is what they do to our possession, bird poop is quite messy.  It’s the biggest problem with these guys.    

Matthew Miller, Quirke Infographica
Liz Crocker

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Video of Royal BC Museum Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Gavin Hanke, talking about introduced species.

Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum, talks about alien species.

Royal BC Museum – Where the Past Lives

Museum Moment

Alien Invaders

Once upon a time, museum researchers used to focus more on collecting and displaying living things than on interpreting patterns in nature. 

Hi, I’m Connie Mitchell, here with Gavin Hanke from the Royal BC Museum.  Gavin’s curator of vertebrate zoology. 

Gavin, what are we doing here in the middle of this park?

Well, you can’t make a good museum display without new information and this can be found even in a city park.

What new information are we going to find in the middle of this duck pond?

What about this?

Wait a sec, I actually know that, that’s a Red-eared Turtle.  I didn’t know they were from southern British Columbia.

They’re here now, yeah.

What do you mean?

These are exotic animals.  These were normally found in the Mississippi River.  They’ve been dumped here, these are unwanted pets.  Most people don’t realize the damage that they can cause. 

Let’s have a look over here.

Good idea.

And here’s a bullfrog.  Exotic species like these threaten the environment when they spread outside of cities. 

I imagine natural change is inevitable, but releasing unwanted pets is just wrong in more ways than we can imagine.

BC’s unique environment becomes less so with every exotic species that gets released.  We should do what we can to prevent the release of exotics, especially pets.

www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.

Shaw Communications Inc.

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Description
Students create an adaptation chart based on information they gather from this learning object collection and the Aliens Among Us website. An organism can be a plant or animal. An adaptation is a behaviour or structure of an organism that promotes survival. Put another way, an adaptation is something an organism does or has that allows it to thrive. Introduced species are sometimes more successful than native species at surviving in their new habitat or community. They may be able to beat out native species for things like nutrients, sunshine, shelter, food or water.

Method
1. On a piece of blank paper, students draw a chart with three columns and four or more rows. Students title the chart “Alien Adaptations” then label the first column “Species” the next “Structures” and the last column “Behaviours”.

2. On their own, in pairs or small groups, students fill out the chart by exploring this learning object collection and the Aliens Among Us website to gather information about introduced species and their adapt Read More
Description
Students create an adaptation chart based on information they gather from this learning object collection and the Aliens Among Us website. An organism can be a plant or animal. An adaptation is a behaviour or structure of an organism that promotes survival. Put another way, an adaptation is something an organism does or has that allows it to thrive. Introduced species are sometimes more successful than native species at surviving in their new habitat or community. They may be able to beat out native species for things like nutrients, sunshine, shelter, food or water.

Method
1. On a piece of blank paper, students draw a chart with three columns and four or more rows. Students title the chart “Alien Adaptations” then label the first column “Species” the next “Structures” and the last column “Behaviours”.

2. On their own, in pairs or small groups, students fill out the chart by exploring this learning object collection and the Aliens Among Us website to gather information about introduced species and their adaptations. If students cannot find examples of a type of adaptation they may denote this with a question mark.

3. At least one of the organisms should be from their own region of the province. Students put a star next to the names of species that live in their region.

Summation
4. As a class, draw the same chart on a board at the front of the room. Complete the chart for all the alien species students have identified. Try to fill all the gaps or question marks. Use any remaining question marks as a starting place for further study or for student research using the library or online sources.

5. Are there any patterns or relationships in the alien adaptations students have identified?

© 2011, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
• gather and organize information in a three-column chart
• identify three or more alien species and their structural and behavioural adaptations
• describe the difference between behavioural and structural adaptations
• appreciate the impact an introduced species can have on a native habitat or community

This learning object is linked to prescribed learning outcomes from the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Education, Integrated Resource Package for Grade 4 Science.

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