Another wee bird
Hi folks, do you recognise this wee bird?
For some of you, it’s such a common sight, you may not have ever really looked at it’s bonny plumage.
Even its call may be so familiar to you that it’s just another everyday sound that you hardly notice 🙂
Check out its beak, what d’you think it eats?
Challenge – can you draw this one?
Time for a tale –
This story has many shapes and forms, do you recognise it?
This is the house sparrow.
Clothes and behaviour
The male (Mr) and the female (Mrs) have different plumage. Both are brown birds, with striped wing feathers (one child described them as tiger birds) but the male is darker and has a grey cap, dark brown cheeks, a black ‘beard’ and a pale breast, where the female is more uniform light brown wih buff breast.
These birds eat mainly seeds, as you can tell by their blunt beaks. You will notice them in long grass, or on verges, picking away at grass seed or fallen tree seeds. They are a common sight at bird tables, where they’ll go for fat balls and other delights.
House sparrows are often seen in flocks. You might hear them chirping out of sight, tucked away in foliage or a building. Listen here:
House sparrows are always on the alert for danger. There must be a ‘signal’ chirp for them all to take cover, for suddenly all the sparrows will rise up and vanish. I have noticed that there seems to be a ‘guard’ sparrow constantly on the lookout. The one below was giving me the beady eye the whole time I was watching them!
Nesting and young
House sparrows make a simple, messy nest in the eaves of buildings or in hedges. There will often be a community of birds living in close proximity and the flock tend to stay together even as their population increases. In my estate I’ve seen more sparrows this year than for a long time.
The young sparrows are quick to fledge and begin to look like their parents almost immediately, just slightly more fluffy and still demanding food from time to time. They are often the ones you will hear cheeping in late May, early June.
You may not think it, but although these birds seem to be everywhere, they are steeply on the decline. In many places where they used to be a common sight, there are now none. It is hard to define why, but one thing we can all do to support this wee bird is to feed them seeds and keep a clean water supply available. If you want to learn more, follow this link: http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/house_sparrow.html
See you next time 🙂