HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Sometimes I wonder if I grow herbs for myself, or for the birds.

The House Sparrows, (and Fairy-wrens), are particularly fond of  Mint, especially the young leaves.

(excuse the soft focus in some of the images below, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the fast-moving little birds as they jump from pot to pot in search of tasty titbits.  Other times, after a long ‘photoshoot’  my arms ache and I find it hard to hold the heavy long telephoto lens still enough).

I’d clean the lounge windows for some clearer shots too, but the forecast is for rain this afternoon so no point cleaning them today.

17 thoughts on “HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

    1. They are such a joy in my life now that I can’t go out walking much, Eliza.

      It’ll be interesting to see if the European Finches and New Holland Honeyeaters come back this Spring 🙂


  1. I have a fondness for house sparrows (we don’t have them in the Dandenong Ranges). When my father retired, he taught a male sparrow to eat from his hand. It took months of patience. I was very impressed.
    My father died suddenly.
    The little bird kept turning up at the back door at the appointed time, and it broke my heart. After a long time, the little bird stopped coming. It has always been my wish to have the patience to repeat my father’s achievement. During MIFF this year, I went to Fed Square to eat a bread roll between movies. All the usual characters were there — lots of noise and bustle. I found a ledge to sit on and was eyed by a seagull. I shared a bit with him and was ‘joined’ by a bunch more. Two young Chinese children and two young men speaking a language I did not recognise (I’m not good at speaking them, but I can usually recognise a wide range of languages) kept trying to frighten the birds away. While all this was going on, right next to me on the ledge were two male sparrows so close that they could easily have hopped into my pocket. I looked at them, but they didn’t seem frightened. I distracted the seagull with a bit of bread and optimistically put a crumb on the palm of my hand and slowly moved it towards them. After a few seconds, where the bird kept looking at me trying to decide the level of my character, the nearest bird jumped onto my hand and took the crumb.
    I could not believe what had happened!
    The two sparrows had flown off to eat the crumb, but they soon returned only this time on the other side of me where the seagulls could see them.
    I performed the routine again with the same result!
    There was no one to see what was happening — it was just me. I hope my dad was watching.
    At this stage, I had nothing to lose, so I slowly took out my phone and tried to get a video. I was successful, so I did it again only in slo-mo, and at the exact moment the bird takes the crumb, my phone maxed out its memory!

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    1. I’ve got 3 mint pot/trough going with Mint, but the main long tray just hasn’t been growing much until the last week or so. That main long trough is also the one the Fairy-wrens graze on the most.

      I think I’ll buy some more Mint plants when I buy the Spring seedlings in a week or so. 🙂


  2. I see the birds do love your potted plants – your photos are great. I had a wren that decided to nest in a big pot of lettuce I planted. I could not harvest and enjoy my lettuce – it went to seed. I had to let the little wren raise her chicks and I did not want to disturb her. The 4th chick took an extra week to leave the nest. I so love the small little birds of this world. love this post and thank you for sharing these little birds with us.

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    1. I can’t remember if the birds liked my lettuce or not, but I sure did 🙂

      I watch the sparrows and wrens out of the corner of my eye when checking my emails in the morning. They are so interesting and absorbing once you get to know their routines. (no wonder I never get any chores done) 🙂

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    1. i don’t know about generous when I’m looking for Mint to cook with, but it’s obviously a great ‘lure’ for bird photography 🙂


    1. I love them too. I wish I could get closer to them as they’re gathering on my bare Japanese Maple branches in the last few days. Once the leaf buds open, they’ll be back in hoards to nibble on the choice new leaves. When that happens, my Mint might get a chance to grow a bit more 🙂

      It’s 11.00am here and the fairy-wrens are late this morning. They usually visit around 10.30am.

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    1. When I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne I had Blackbirds(?) come and take the thyme back to their nests. At first, I thought they were eating the thyme, but no, I finally concluded they lined their nests and since thyme is antibacterial, I used to say that was to kill the bugs in their nests to protect their young hatchlings 😀

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