Posts Tagged ‘nest building’

On Saturday I encountered several female House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) with clumps of vegetation in their mouths and suspect that they are beginning to construct nests. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “House Sparrow prefers to nest in manmade structures such as eaves or walls of buildings, street lights, and nest boxes instead of in natural nest sites such as holes in trees.”

I know that some people resent the invasive presence of House Sparrows, which were introduced in the United States from Europe in 1851, because they sometimes displace native species. Personally I find them to be as interesting to observe and photograph as any other birds.

Perspective makes a difference—as a photographer I focus my attention on different aspects of my subjects than others may do. For, example,  I know that farmers and gardeners will view some vegetation and insects as pests, while I may find them to be beautiful subjects. It is definitely a cliché, but there is also truth in the old saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”


House Sparrow

House Sparrow

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.


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I captured this close-up image of a Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) as it rested on a perch a short distance from the location of its nest, underneath a raised portion of the boardwalk at my local marshland park.

I have posted a number of close-up shots of Barn Swallows in the last few weeks (including one that I entitled Too Close), but this one is distinctive for a couple of reasons. The swallow is in the midst of working on its nest, and the mud and twigs in its bill show clearly its primary building materials. Most of my other photos have showed a swallow posing as it took a break from chasing insects.

The other notable feature of this image that I really like is its narrow depth of field. Although I included the sparrow’s entire body in the shot, only a small part of it is in sharp focus, essentially the forward half of its head, including the one visible eye. I think that the limited area of sharp focus really helps to draw attention to the eye and to the muddy bill.


Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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