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House sparrows were first introduced to North America when a few dozen birds were released in Brooklyn, New York, in the fall of 1851 and spring of 1852. Gradually the population grew and was augmented by additional releases because settlers then believed that these birds would help control insects on crops. House sparrows were released in many places in the New World in the next few decades, including Portland, Maine (1854-1858), Hawaii (1871), San Francisco (1871-1872), and Salt Lake City, (1873-1874).