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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Feed Me!

This is not a story about Audrey the plant from the Little Shop of Horrors. Instead, it's about the occupants of this weathered little red birdhouse.

House sparrows are more closely associated with humans than any other established North American wild bird. There are about three dozen species of sparrows in North America. The species was introduced to New York City in 1851 when NYC faced a serious problem. The snow-white linden moth was devouring fruit trees and leafy elms. City officials hoped the sparrows would devour the moth larvae and they did.

But, there's is a similarity between the fictional Audrey and sparrows — a non-stop appetite. After eating moth larvae, sparrows devoured vital crops, stole the nests of native birds, and flourished in urban habitats by killing off weaker species — in short, they were predators, especially targeting bluebirds. By the 1980's, America’s indigenous bluebird population was in steep decline. It has since been coming back.

Sparrows flourish in large cities and country settings, and can often displace other birds from nest boxes, (I'm unsure if that happened here.) This sparrow family occupied half of a two-nesting birdhouse, which must have been tight quarters.


This duo kept the mother and father sparrow quite busy every 5-10 minutes. Although they are primarily seed-eaters, sparrows also eat small insects and considerable supplies are required to feed the young ones. 






Another similarity to Audrey . . . Come on back and feed me us!
These sparrows were in a mimosa tree at our grandchildren's Rhode Island backyard where we visited last week. We don't have birdhouses in our Virginia backyard, but there are plenty of crepe myrtle trees which annually host several families.

How about you — birdhouses or not?

22 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

3 dozen you say? They all look the same to me. I didn't know they were imports.

possum said...

Baby birds - like a bottomless pit!

gigihawaii said...

Those birds are so cute.

Out on the prairie said...

last time when I left for a long time the sparrows did to. I came back and they did within the week

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

Over here it's the house sparrow that is slowly decreasing in numbers and fast too. The farmers are too good in taking care of any spillage of seeds and mostly they nest beneath tiles here. More and more poeple have metal roofs now days so less places to nest at as well.

Beautiful photos!

Christer.

Catherine said...

Oh my! I would never have guessed these pretty little sparrows were predators... very interesting. Love the red birdhouse :)

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

No bird houses, just bird feeders which are sorta squirrel feeders, too. All kinds of birds come to eat the seed. Woodpeckers seem to really go for the seeded suet cakes.

A Quiet Corner said...

Little gluttons, they are!...:)JP

L. D. said...

I watched a robins nest this spring and watched the wrens feed their babies in my wren house. I didn't get a final picture of the robins as they left so quickly. The wrens are all gone even though I hear them singing. We have young cardinals at our feeder but I don't know where they nested.

W. Latane Barton said...

Those are some hungry babies. How do the parent birds ever keep them fed.

Lois Evensen said...

Wonderful series!! You got some fabulous shots.

Emma Springfield said...

These are fantastic shots of those adorable babies. It has to be fun watching them get ready to leave the nest.

diane b said...

A fabulous photo story.

William Kendall said...

I can practically hear the noise they're making!

Country Gal said...

Wonderful post and photos ! Our little Mama sparrow has had at least two batches of babies this summer in the little red barn bird house Papa built last year . Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

Country Gal said...
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Daisy said...

The little ones are so cute. We don't have any bird houses here, but I'm sure they'd be fun to watch.

Rebecca said...

I have some birdhouses, but no bird feeders. I'm worried that bears will be attracted to the bird seed. And my cats may just wait under the bird feeders to catch unwary birds...making them cat feeders.

Gail Dixon said...

Whoa, what a history of these birds. I had no idea. Our birding instructor mentioned that the house sparrow used to be called a weaver finch and that they were introduced from England.

Seemed like city officials had a great idea to eradicate the moth larvae, but then opened up a whole other can of worms, so to speak.

Love the shots of the babies. They are cute as they can be.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

Your photos are wonderful. Those baby sparrows are adorable. I have a birdhouse. I think that I put it up too late this spring. It is a wren house and the wrens were looking for a place to nest the week before I put the house up.

Linda said...

Aww, cute babies! We have several birdhouses.

Leonora said...

Stunning photos! I enjoy watching the birds around our place. Some are more pleasant to have around than others and we're fortunate to see plenty of bluebirds.

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