We collected House Sparrows Passer domesticus around London, Ontario, estimated their total body calcium masses, food habits and egg production to test for the effects of endogenous calcium levels on control of clutch size. Before egg production began, calcium levels increased significantly and remained high through the end of egg laying, and then declined significantly after egg laying. We found no evidence that clutch size was related to endogenous calcium levels. Upon first ovulation, House Sparrows greatly increased consumption of calciferous materials such as snail shells, bird eggshells and calciferous grit. Their diet returned to normal after the final egg was ovulated. Daily calcium intake was sufficient to meet eggshell calcium needs.
Additional Publication Details
Changes in total body calcium and diet of breeding house sparrows