This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"The tiny little wren lives3years, the thrush 10, the lark 13, the common hen of commerce 10, the boarding house brand 75, the crow 100, and the English sparrow is immortal".
The manner of preparing the sparrow does not differ from that in the case of the reed-bird, except that the sparrow meat is somewhat tougher, and requires a little more careful cooking. The sparrow, when nicely browned, flavored and mounted on toast, is so deceptive that old sports are frequently unable to discover the fraud. Many of the sparrows are sent through the adjacent country and sold in the restaurants and hotels for fancy prices and at enormous profit. Experienced cooks say they are frequently at a loss to decide whether or not the birds offered for sale by a suspicious dealer are really reed-birds or sparrows. They profess, however, that the flesh of a reed-bird is a little whiter, the veins a little bluer and smaller and the legs better shaped.