HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Female

Back to the Archives – 13th August, 2018

One of the advantages of taking photos of the local bird-life from my apartment lounge, is the ability to rest my elbows on my desk to make hand-held shots.   If I’ve got fair light and a fast enough shutter speed, (or the continuous shooting setting), its possible to also capture birds on the move.

Sometimes I can capture those quick little seed peckers – other times not.

Today’s post is about the female House Sparrow from a week ago.  I had already broken the bright blue ceramic bird bath in my over-zealous balcony cleaning and the House Sparrows had seemed bewildered at the lack of a reliable water source in my lovely balcony Herb, Flower and Vegetable garden.

Australia actually has 2 Sparrows – the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus).  Very similar, except the Eurasian Tree Sparrow is only found in a small area and has distinctive white cheek patches with a black central spot (among other differing feather colours and markings).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Eurasian one to be honest.

The House Sparrow is quite small; male with a distinctive grey crown, black face and bib.  The Chestnut-brown stripe over the eye links to a brown nape.  The back and wings are richly mottled chestnut, black and white and rump grey-buff.  Underparts greyish white.

The female and immature have a buff stripe over the eye as shown in this post and are much paler.  They’re easy to identify.

Unlike the Spotted Turtle-doves on my previous apartment balcony to the north-east of inner Melbourne, I have yet to really see any distinguishing marks or tell Sparrows apart.

Some of the ‘boys’ are a little aggressive and territorial, but I guess the females might be also if they had a nest nearby.

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19 thoughts on “HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – Female

  1. Sparrows (all varieties) are in decline in the UK. So we have been very proud of our gang/mob/tribe…call the noisy so and so what you want. Been here for years, all weathers and always making a noisy contribution to daily life. Even the two cats next door tolerate them. But this summer they just disappeared, fled, done a bunk and now not one single one of them. We wait to see if they come back in the autumn 🙂

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    1. I do hope they come back, David.

      I haven’t seen my sparrows as much since I broke the bird bath. I think they used to enjoy foraging around my potted plants (as I sometimes scattered some seed there). I suspect they were so used to the bird bath, my balcony became a common drink stop on the way to other locales too. 🙂

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    1. I think they’re probably fluffing up their feathers to keep out the cold (as did the Rock Pigeons on top of the warehouse at my previous home location.

      (do you remember the image i posted of ‘tweedledum & tweedledee’ of that Rock Pigeon couple one winter’s day? Very fluffed up chest feathers).

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    2. Will do, Peggy. Now I’ve started the blog afresh, I am gradually posting every bird and flower species and building a much better index on the right hand side of the Home Page.

      (of course if I manage to get out to more walks and nature reserves again in the warmer weather, I’ll have some new photos to put on my blog. But I suspect it will be only with my Mother’s old walking stick in one hand).

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    1. So am I KD. As I said to another blog comment, I’ve only seen the sparrows a couple of times in the last 10 days since I broke the bird bath and I think the fresh water (and occasional birdseed) is partly what draws them to my balcony.

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    1. I didn’t realise that, Jane.
      I just assumed the sparrows I see so much were common everywhere. Perhaps the larger birds prey on them in open fields?

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    1. Something I like about the Sparrows is that they visit my balcony 365 days of the year – sometimes 3-4 times in the warmer weather, but they have been here only about twice since I broke the bird bath 10 days ago.

      I think they miss their (water) ‘pit stop’ on their travels. I must get another one ASAP. I suppose I could fill a low kitchen bowl and put it on the ground, but there’s too much likelihood of my tripping over it. Besides, the birds now recognise the blue ceramic (I think).

      When one is often housebound, birds (and my garden of course) are the most entertaining pastimes you can imagine.

      I am so lucky to have a big balcony and Room With a View.

      I am currently watching all the blueberry pink buds burst into little white flowers. As soon as I see the first green fruit, I will get out the (new) cotton bird netting to ensure the birds don’t eat my crop.

      Whoever would have thought this much travelled person as I was 25-40 years ago, visiting countryside/mountains/skiing locally & Austria, trips – interstate and overseas, could be so entertained by such a simple pastime.

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      1. I think it would be good for all of us to be entertained by the everyday, mundane goings-on, because they, too, contain much magic. It is easy to miss when we are really busy. But for your health’s sake, I wish you could still pursue some of these other activities!
        If you won’t be able to buy a new permanent water dish soon, I think the sparrows would be happy with whatever you can find, they are very adaptable.
        And I hope you will have a bumper blueberry crop!
        Best wishes,
        Tanja

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