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Posts Tagged ‘House Sparrow’

The locals must have thought I was a bit crazy as I maneuvered about taking photos of some House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) in the Volksgarten, one of the many beautiful public parks in Vienna, Austria. After all, House Sparrows are among the most ordinary-looking and common birds in the city.

Most of the time the sparrows were in constant motion, but a couple of them perched for short periods of time and I was able to capture a few images of the female and male House Sparrows that highlight their beauty.

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House Sparrow

House Sparrow

House Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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It won’t be long before my bird photos have the colorless backgrounds characteristic of winter, so I am photographing as many birds as I can find with autumn colors in the background, like this House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) that I observed last Sunday. As I noted in a posting last month, these birds are non-native (introduced from the Old World) and sometimes crowd out native birds. Still, I find them to be beautiful, especially when they pose like this. This pose is one of my favorites, when I get to look down the tail toward the head turned to the side.

house_sparrow_autumn_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I first saw this bird, I knew that it was a sparrow, but couldn’t identify it. I was baffled when I went to my Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America, because I couldn’t find the sparrow. I went back and forth through the 14 pages covering sparrows, examining carefully the text and illustrations, but none of the species looked like this bird.

I was beginning to doubt my identification skills, so I kept looking through the field guide, desperately hoping to find the bird. On the very last page of the section of the guide with information on bird species, just before all of the range maps, I stumbled across a small section called Old World Sparrows and found the bird—it’s a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

Apparently Old World sparrows are non-native (as their name suggests) and are of a different family from all of the other sparrows that I have observed. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website indicates that House Sparrows were introduced from Europe in 1851 and that they are common in places with houses, because the birds seem to prefer to nest in manmade structures, like the eaves of buildings, more than natural nesting sites. I took these photos at a little manmade lake that is partially surrounded by houses, rather than at the marsh where I do a lot of my shooting, which may explain why I have never noticed this type of sparrow before.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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