Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Strange, isn't it, how you can be 'blind' to some common species? Our front garden hedge is always full of a noisy flock of sparrows and they quite often wake me up in the morning when they sit on the gutter and chirrup, but I think I've only ever photographed a house sparrow once, and then only because of a curious bit of insect behaviour

Maybe it's because they were just too common to appreciate in their own right, always there, and there was always something else interesting and less familiar to point a lens at.

But they really are very handsome little birds, even when they are in the middle of the breeding season, as this one was, and looking a bit scruffy. And just look at that beak - I've got a pair of pliers like that in my toolbox. There are flocks of sparrows in the wheat fields around here right now, using that well-adapted piece of equipment to shred the cereal seed heads.

What really made me look at sparrows more closely was the arrival of a tree sparrow on our bird table last winter. It was gone before I could reach my camera but, even amongst the more colourful finches, its plumage was striking and I realised then that I had never knowingly really looked a tree sparrow before. So since then I've been on the lookout for them.

This harassed looking example was taking a break from feeding fledglings ......

.... revealing that lovely chestnut crown, black cheek patch and white neck ring ....


  1. Although I've not photographed then much I love "my" House Sparrows. Along with the converted neighbour we've managed to help numbers increase significantly not only be feeding but by letting our gardens and particularly hedges get a bit more "untidy". I watch them on a number of occasions during the course of the day and recently with the feeding of young it's been even more enjoyable. The Tree Sparrows seem to be on the up also. I remember not that long ago there were only 2 reliable sights that I knew of up here north of the Tyne but I know of at least 4 more and odd birds are turning up more often. Like so many of our birds any help we can give them is great. Still reading all your posts on the blog Phil even though I don't comment EVERY time these days. Always a good read and above all most informative. Keep the posts coming.

  2. Thanks for the kind words John. We seem to have a local population of about 20 house sparrows at the moment that spend a lot of the day in the holly and hawthorn hedge in our front garden. They seem to like the prickly security. There's a farm not far away and I guess that's where they spend a lot of the day when they're not in the hedge. When we first moved here, about 30 years ago, there was a patch of dry soil in the garden where sparrows used to come for dust bath - always amusing to watch. Cheers, Phil