Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Evening Creature Feature, House Sparrow

For years, I’ve resisted photographing House Sparrows as they are so ubiquitous. The House Sparrow or English Sparrow in not a native of America, or even England (as it is commonly referred to as the English Sparrow). It originated in the Middle East and spread with agriculture to other parts of the world. The House Sparrow is not really a sparrow and is not related to any of the sparrow species in North America.

I have a flock that frequents the Bittersweet bush (another introduced species) in my front yard. I often think of them as “the kids” as they hang about and socialize like the kids in the nearby park. So I’ve become accustomed to their presence and when the neighbors walk their dogs, sometimes they leave bread crumbs for them at the base of the bush.

Thus they are a welcome part of the neighborhood, and in my neighborhood where the most common birds are Herring Gulls and Black-backed Gulls. Thus it is nice to have these little guys about.

House Sparrows prefer to live in areas near humans and their populations fall off in wilderness areas. I believe this  because it is easier for them to deal with urban cats than predators in the wildness.

In the offseason for lobster, the gear is scattered about Gloucester which is a boon for the House Sparrows. My wife and I refer to these post as “sparrow condos”.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

The House Sparrow hang about in these post. Many post are encrusted with barnacles and bits of sea weed.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

They are just perfect places to grab watch the world go by.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

A real Cock-of-the-rock.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

©2012 Steve BorichevskyIn the image below, a female sits in the entrance to the kitchen of a lobster pot.

Yes, a lobster pot has a “kitchen” and a “parlor”. The kitchen is where the bait is placed and the parlor is in the back of the trap where the lobsters get trapped.

Bait is hung in the kitchen, the lobster crawls in and drops to the bottom of the trap. It then crawls along the funnel into the parlor. In the bottom of the parlor is an exit that is designed to allow undersized lobsters to escape. The larger lobsters are then trapped. Each day the lobstermen (and lobsterwomen) check their traps. The carapace is measured and if it is large enough, the lobster is kept…provided it is not a female with eggs, which also is returned to the sea.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

A House Sparrow can come and go from a lobster pot as it pleases. This is just another example of how the House Sparrow takes advantage of human activities.

Visit Camera Critters for more photos from the animal kingdom.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

I love your photos, as always. However, I'm not a huge house sparrow fan. They kill bluebirds. Ruthlessly. That makes me sad, as I love bluebirds. Still, it's not the house sparrow's fault as they were brought here against their will, or at least unknowingly. They are just doing what they do. But I cry for the bluebirds...ya know? Another misplaced non-native............BUT I love your photos nonetheless! XO

Roy said...

Their numbers are falling in this country Steve.
They use to be everywhere at one time, but not anymore.

Cindy said...

Photos are great, Steve. Really nice post. These little birds are by far the most numerous birds at my feeders. I feel like they are my backyard family!

Powell River Books said...

Critters sure are ingenious. - Margy

Steve Borichevsky said...

I often wonder what the bird populations would be like without the competition of the European Starlings and House Sparrows. Both are cavity nesters and gregarious and I’ve seen them take over nesting holes, especially the starlings.

As Roy points out in his area, both species are in decline where here the populations are thriving. I’ve put out bird feeders in the past, but only in areas where I don’t get Starlings and House Sparrows.

chubskulit said...

We have so many sparrows here too.

Visiting late from Camera Critters, hope you can take a peek at my Bunny entry.

Pia said...

That´s an interesting post! Happy Sparrows and poor Lobsters....
and very nice photos!

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