As usual, click on an image for larger view.
Because the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) has been so successful wherever it’s been able to find a toehold worldwide, there is a tendency for many people to overlook them in favor of other birds. Or they’re only noticed when their numbers are so great that they are considered a pest. True, they don’t sport the gaudy colors of some of their bird-feeder neighbors, but they have exquisite patterns on their wing feathers. They are also extremely intelligent, and I speak from experience in this as I spent considerable effort this year attempting to foil their efforts to monopolize my sister’s garden feeders of various types. Every time I came up with something new, they adapted and worked out a way to get around it. You could actually see them sitting on the branches surrounding the feeders and watching to see how the finches and tits managed. You could see them trying out those birds’ different techniques and then getting better at those techniques over the next few days. It was a mind-boggling exercise in animal behavior observation and utterly fascinating. I came to really admire these cheeky, bold little birds. I finally did come up with something that foiled most of them, but unfortunately it also deterred the finches from using those feeders as well. Only the most determined and inventive of the house sparrows were accessing the mixed seed feeders, along with the nuthatches and various kinds of tits. At least the finches were visiting the sunflower seed feeder, while the number of visiting house sparrows had been reduced to the point where the tits and nuthatches felt comfortable enough to return to my sister’s garden in greater numbers.
These images were captured at an outdoor cafe in Geneva, Switzerland. The boldest would actually land on the table where we were sitting and ask for handouts. Not quite as bold as the chickadees in our local park who will actually land on a person who has something to offer, but very endearing nonetheless.