Monday, May 31, 2010

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is the one of the most common sparrows around the world. It was first brought to North America from Europe around the mid 1800s. I have seen the House Sparrow in many different places but have yet to get a really good picture of it.  (Shots one and two were added on October 7, taken in Tilting, Fogo, Island.)
I had an opportunity in early May at one of the local hardware stores. A number of House Sparrows had chosen to nest in the loft of the lumber yard.  When I spotted the birds, I asked permission to take pictures in the yard. When given the OK, I went home and got my camera. When I returned to the yard, I asked someone else if it was okay to take some pictures of the birds backing on the lumber yard. I was told it was OK.

I got into position and the birds were beginning to get comfortable with me being there and I started shooting.

There were several House Sparrow of both gender. I was observing how different the female is from the male. The male has bold markings and the female has much softer, lighter brown markings. I took my time trying to get closer in order to get the best images. The females were enjoying the rough surface of the lumber and appeared to be scratching in the early morning. One of them looks zonked out!  I was standing on the hill behind the lumber yard and was making great progress in moving closer to the birds. When I looked up, there were two men walking toward me. One of them must have been the manager. He was quite distressed that someone was (apparently) taking pictures of his lumber yard. I assured him that I had asked permission twice to be there. That did not put him at ease. When he seemed disbelieving that I was taking pictures of birds, I showed him some of the images that I had taken. He still did not seem convinced. I finally asked him, "Would you like for me to go?" He didn't answer right away, so I got the "picture." I left. Needless to say, I didn't get the quality images that I had hoped for.
This is somewhat common when a birdwatcher stops along the side of the road to take a picture of a bird in the tree or feeder of some one's house. People are not accustomed to seeing someone with a big camera pointed at their property. On the other hand, some people are used to it and are very welcoming. Some are even delighted to learn what type of bird is in their yard. Sometimes, it is a very special bird, and people are very proud that the bird made a pit stop in their yard. It is always a good idea to ask if people mind. Most of the time they don't.

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