Thursday, March 29

Who are you calling dull and brown?

Why is it that we don't always fully appreciate the birds that regularly visit our gardens? We seem to be always on the look out for a new visitor and write off lots of our garden birds as just boring little brown birds. Many people may even think that all little brown birds are the same species. 

Well look again! When the sun is on their backs our little brown birds are not in the least bit boring. I took this photo of a male house sparrow on one of our feeders. Before you ask - he didn't turn around at the last minute - I wanted a photo of his back. The colours and patterns on his feathers were anything but boring!
Sparrows live in flocks which is maybe why they are overlooked as people may just see the flock and not the individual birds. If you look closely a an individual though you may spot subtle differences for instance the size of the  male sparrow's dark bib varies. The larger the bib the more dominant the bird is - so basically the head of the flock has the largest bib.
At the start of this post I asked why we overlooked birds that regularly visit our gardens. Although we have house sparrows in our garden I know that in many places house sparrows have disappeared. They are now on the RSPB red list which means their numbers have fallen drastically. For a while we didn't see many sparrows in our garden but thankfully this situation has improved. Maybe this is one reason that we now appreciate them more!

If you want to read more about house sparrows and see more photos I have a page on my website here

20 comments:

  1. Haven't seen a house sparrow in ages, but we do get a few song sparrows in the garden. You are lucky to have them visit yours. "Anything but boring" is right!

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  2. We have lots of sparrows in our garden. Hard to believe that they're on the red list, I try to do my bit by keeping the feeders filled up and providing fresh water.

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    1. They are really not a common sight at all in some areas Jo - I think garden feeders are their lifeline

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  3. We get a few House Sparrows round here, but never a flock. We also see more Dunnocks than we used to.

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    1. We have only really started to see flocks again during the past couple of years Mark

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  4. Someone valued them enough to introduce them to Australia...my garden is full of them - perhaps we could re export them. Whilst they are a problem here in that they compete with the native birds (and usually win) I acutally quite like them (unlike blackbirds which I would dearly love to ship back immediately). I frequently see them in amongst my crops and I presume they are cleaning up any annoying insect populations.

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    1. It's always a bad idea to introduce non-indigenous flora and fauna, Liz - it usually badly affects the balance of things doesn't it? Weren't rabbits a foreign introduction to Australia?

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  5. I enjoy all the smaller bids in the garden (and I'm quite bad at bird identification). I have ones like you've photographed, lots of them that eat nuts we put out. Recently I've noticed and have been watching two magpies finishing off a nest at the very top of a large sycamore tree.

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    1. The RSPB site is fairly good for identification Kelli but the trouble is that many of the images are 'drawings' Photographs are much better

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  6. I love the chirpy little chappies trouble is they like to chirp a little early in the morning for my liking right outside the bedroom window.

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    1. Think yourself lucky Elaine - we've just come back from holiday and were woken early by a pheasant squawking just outside our back door! One male pheasant can make quite a racket!

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  7. Such lovely birds, one of our favourites too.

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  8. We have a small flock of about 8 of these in the local area. They love sitting in the hawthorn tree next door or hiding in the laurel hedge - their constant chirruping to each other is such a lovely sound.

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    1. Hi SVG they do make you feel quite cheered don't they? Ours arrive in numbers a bit too large to count and it's quite funny watching them queue at the birdbath!

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  9. Nothing dull about sparrows - I love them! Really have noticed the numbers falling though. Very sad.

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    1. Ours seem to be rallying Naomi so hopefully yours will too.

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  10. I never underestimate the beauty of any bird. The sparrows aren't show offs but have beauty in their own right and I love the markings that they have be they hedge or house sparrows, We have a lot of both varieties visit our garden and they are always graceful diners willing to share!!. You don't need to be an exhibitionist to be beautiful!!

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    1. That doesn't just go for birds Tanya!!! :)

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