House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

Also called the ‘English Sparrow’, the male of the species has quite bold markings, with a reddish-brown back plumage, grey cap with reddish sides, a black bib and unmarked grey underside. It also has a distinctive white wingbar. Both sexes have a thick black bill and a pale whitish eye stripe. The female is not so bold, and is generally brownish in colouration. The juvenile has plainer plumage. Similar to the Tree Sparrow and the Dunnock (Prunella modularis). Length 14cm.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

It feeds on buds, berries, and many insects. Visits bird tables for nuts, seeds, and various titbits. The nest is made of grass and feathers built-in roof spaces, wall cavities, or in bushes and leafy vines. The female lays 3 to 7 eggs in 3 to 4 broods from April to August. They can live for up to 5 years.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) male

Seen all year round. It thrives in villages and towns, and farms, not far from human habitation, and has lived closely alongside people since the Stone Age. The House Sparrow is a cause for concern, for over the past 25 years their numbers have declined by 50 percent in rural England, and up to 62 per cent in towns and cities. Nobody is entirely sure as to this rapid decline in numbers, but it is thought that changes in agriculture practices in rural areas maybe a cause, and lesser green space in urban areas another. It is on the RSPB Red List.

Photographs of House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), taken April 2013, Llandudno, Wales. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

More of Super Robin

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The bird that comes about our doors
When autumn winds are sobbing?

Verse from the poem “The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly” written by William Wordsworth in 1802.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robins have to be one of my favourite birds, and it’s not just because of their bright red breast and sweet bird song. I find their manner both fascinating and delightful, and I can’t help but smile when I see one. They appear to be such inquisitive birds by nature, and they get fairly close to you, and don’t appear to have any fear of you. Maybe, in their own way, they find us interesting, perhaps even fascinating.

Photographs of  Robin (Erithacus rubecula), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

An Old Friend Returns

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

This male Chaffinch was a regular visitor to my feeder during the summer, but I hadn’t seen him for the past few weeks, until today. The last time I saw him I noticed he had a problem with one of his feet, which looked like it was covered in a growth of some kind.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

It didn’t appear to bother him then, and it doesn’t appear to bother him now, despite how nasty it looks. Looking this up on the net I believe he is suffering from chaffinch viral papilloma, a virus specific to chaffinches only. It may have got infected through a  small cut in the foot. Unfortunately there is no cure, but infected birds rarely die from it. I notice he does have trouble balancing sometimes, and it must be quite an irritation, but he seem well enough, and he is still quite friendly and allows me to get pretty close to him.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Photographs of  male Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Super Robin!

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I was sitting in my garden earlier having some lunch, and I suddenly heard such sweet bird song coming from a nearby tree. It was very breezy, and amidst the cacophony of rustling leaves I managed to pinpoint the source of this delightful singing. And there, perched on a tree limb, was this most beautiful little Robin sporting his bright red breast.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I have never seen a Robin jump before, on the spot. It suddenly leaped into the air a short distance, but clearing the branch it was perched upon, and settled back down in the same spot. It only did this once. I thought maybe it was the wind jostling the tree, but who really knows. I found it quite atsonishing.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I observed the Robin for a fair length of time before it flew off and disappeared into a nearby bush. I have hardly seen any Robins this year, so to see this one and to listen to its sweet serenade, was a pure joy, and it sure made my day today!

Photographs of  Robin (Erithacus rubecula), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Nuthatch

Sitta europaea

The Nuthatch is a beautiful woodland bird with blue-grey back plumage and pale buff undersides with reddish-brown flanks. It has a black stripe running through its eye, and a dagger-like grey bill.

This small bird has amazing acrobatic talents as it can cling to branches and tree trunks with ease in search for food. It is usually seen heading down trees as well as climbing up, such is its agility and strength in grip. It has large feet and sharp claws to aid them in this. It feeds on a variety of seeds, berries and nuts. Apart from searching the trees for this food, it also drops down to the ground looking for fallen nuts and berries.

It nests in old woodpecker holes or bird boxes lined with bark and leaves, plastering mud around the entrance. It lays 6-9 eggs in 1 brood from April to July. They can live 2 to 3 years.

Seen all year round,  and it is found in coniferous or deciduous woodland, parkland, and visits gardens where it will take food from bird tables and feeders. Common and widespread in central and southern England and Wales, but absent from Ireland and very local in Scotland.

Photographs taken October 2012, parkland, Staffordshire, and  May 2012, Warley Woods, Staffordshire.