Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Sparrow That Shouldn't Be Here

I have several platform and dish feeders on my covered deck, where I offer a variety of foods - millet, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and dried sunflower heads. A wide range of birds take advantage of this sheltered restaurant, most notably house finches, house sparrows, mourning doves, Eurasian collared-doves, California quail, and at this time of year, dark-eyed juncos. For the past few weeks, however, I've caught scattered glimpses of another visitor - a little brown job that looks the same as but different from my regular patrons.
It took a few views to verify the sighting, but a song sparrow has added my deck to its repertoire of fine dining. The breast spot, malar patches, longer tail, and warmer colors are all evident, though the bird is quite shy and always flits away as soon as it has been spotted, so it was difficult to see it clearly enough to be certain. Ever since that first quick view I've been trying to get a photo, and only managed when the bird hunkered down in our western neighbor's tree long enough for me to snap a shot.

It might be "just" a song sparrow, but its an interesting guest in my backyard, far from the wetter, marsh-like habitats this bird typically prefers. I do have one overgrown section of yard that I've seen it flitting to, and I intend to preserve that area of the yard and add to it (the less lawn to mow, the better). Who knows what other surprise guests might visit?

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