A novice birder's observation of birds and other natural wildlife with wings ... or maybe not with wings...
Thursday, August 19, 2010
House Sparrow (#2)
A pair of House Sparrows (3-20-10) at my backyard feeder.
I'll begin my series about sparrows with the most common - the House Sparrow. They are undeniably the most prolific of all sparrows and can be found nearly in all parts of the continent: in the mountains, in the plains, in the dessert, North, South, East and West, and especially in large metropolitan areas. They seem to thrive being near humans and like to nest on man man-made structures. About the only areas they are not common in are in the extreme North - Alaska, , and Northern Canada. House Sparrows are not native to North America but were imported in the early 1850's from England for the purpose of controlling pest caterpillars, unfortunately, at the detriment of other songbirds especially Bluebirds, Swallows and other cavity-nesting birds which were driven away by the House Sparrow's aggressive nest stealing habits. In less than 50 years they spread throughout the country, even seen on freight train cars heading West. Another negative aspect of the House Sparrow is its monotonous chirping, with no variation of pitch or rhythm. No doubt when my Mother or Grandmother would complain about sparrows being a nuisance, they meant the House Sparrow. Actually the male House Sparrow (Below top, 1-31-10 at my backyard feeder) is quite handsome with contrasting black, gray, white and a various shades of brown. The female (Below, bottom, 11-15-09) has the same browns minus the black and gray colors.
Hello, I have always been interested in birds, undoubtedly influenced by my mother and grandmother. As a young boy I remember paging through my parents' bird books. Both my Mom and Grandma would identify birds by both their songs and their looks. I enjoy nature and being out in it as often as I am able. Being a teacher helps - as I have much of the summer to do just that. I have done some nature and wildlife photography, but until a few years ago I never thought about photographing birds thinking that it would be too difficult - too small and too flighty. After a few thousand photos, my girlfriend suggested that I open a blog sharing some of the pictures that I have taken and hopefully will be taking in the future.
During the 3 years that have been writing this blog, I have graduated from my first camera, a Sony Digital, to my 2nd, a Canon Rebel T1i, to finally my 3rd and current camera - Canon EOS7D. I started with the standard 18-55mm lens, which I soon found was totally impractical. I then purchased a Canon 55-250mm which I used for quite some time, until I bought a Sigma 150-500mm.and finally sold that one and replaced it with a Sigma 150-600mm, my current birding lens.