Honestly, I do love my house sparrows - I've never had the misfortune to witness their less savory sides, and many times they're the first or only feathered company I might have. Their colors are warmer and richer than many people realize, and their behavior can be just as entertaining as any other bird as they flit about with an excess of energy. But while I might enjoy their visits, at this time of year I'm missing the visits of some other guests who have been absent or much less conspicuous for months...
- The relatively cautious black-headed grosbeak family that nips at the hulled sunflower seed.
- The lovestruck antics of the Eurasian collared-doves eager to get busy anywhere and everywhere.
- The scuttling scratches of a hungry covey of California quail at the feeders and in the grass.
- The obsessive-compulsive peanut caching by western scrub-jays, including the meticulous hiding of any evidence of their stash.
- The suspicious glances of the rufous hummingbirds as they sit on their swing, eyeballing the yard for any intruder to chase away.