Bird's Eye View of Bute

The House Sparrow

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The House Sparrow

 

Today we look at the little bird that has colonised most of Europe, and indeed most of the world, following the troops that were mobilised going back many years, where they found that there were ample left-overs from their kitchens to sustain them on route.
We have the well-kent bird that frequents our gardens and hedgerows.


There is no species more closely associated with man than the house sparrow. From large cities to farmyards in the most rural settings, this cheerful exploiter of man’s rubbish and wastefulness is found in abundance
They are very vocal birds, and are mostly in flocks, preferring the hedgerows that consist of hawthorn with their sharp pointed branches that provides them with security from their most hated enemy, the Sparrow Hawk, who pursues them and other birds again and again in search of food. The hawthorn hedge is not an easy place for the Sparrow Hawk to find food, but it will sometimes wait at the bottom of the hedge motionless, hoping that the sparrows will forget that it is there and be less cautious, but it will have a long wait, as these birds are very successful at surviving.
They are that fearless that they take rides on the London Underground and on the cross-Channel ferries where they have access to vast amounts of discarded food.

Where man may settle, so do the house sparrows, and it may be an isolated part of the globe, but they will find them, but how?

Not to ponder too long on that theme, we are more than happy that they have found us, and we get great pleasure in watching them go about searching for food and chirping away to each other, but unfortunately I think that there is a big decline of them in our gardens, which may be because of now having fridges and freezers, that there is not much wasted food that would end up in our gardens, but now nut-feeders are attracting them back and they have devolved the art of holding on as they feed
However, in the country there is no shortage of them as I see in my walks around Bute. Around a lot of the farms there are flocks of up to 50 feeding and nesting there with seemingly endless amount of grain and buds to be had, and plenty of spaces in the roof areas for building nests, but if there is a shortage, they will revert to the hedges.
I had one that sat on a bench next to me as I had my coffee and sandwich, and it was that tame it took small pieces of my piece from an arm’s length from me, ignoring the house cat that was sitting only about six feet away. It and others had most of my sarnie as I was enjoying watching them that my hunger was not an item at that point.

Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 16-01-2009


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