Really?  This is odd and I can’t remember ever having heard of such a thing before.  How can two species interbreed into a new species?

They took blood samples from the birds in order to extract DNA.

“By examining the genetics, we have shown conclusively that the Italian sparrow is of mixed origin – it is a hybrid of the house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow,” Dr Saetre told BBC Nature.

“Second, and perhaps equally important – it is not reproducing with the Spanish sparrow, even though the two birds live side-by-side.”

If the birds had been breeding, the scientists say that they would have found genetic “intermediates” – birds with genes from both species.

“But we didn’t find this, so we think [the two species] have formed some kind of reproductive barrier to each other,” Prof Saetre said.

Hey, science people (scientists?), what is up with this?

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.