Monday, December 3, 2012

Pic of the Day

          House Sparrow, Passer domesticus – Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio:  In 1851 the house sparrow, an endemic species of Europe, the Middle East, and India was imported to Brooklyn New York, and released.  By 1900 the species had spread as far west as the Rockies.  In the early 1870's it was released in San Francisco and Salt Lake City, and from there it spread throughout the western states.  Today the house sparrow is common throughout North America south of Alaska, and northern Canada.
     The house sparrow has been so successful because of its ability to adapt to human habitation.  While it is a cavity nester, it utilizes nooks and crannies in all kinds of manmade structures to build nest and raise young.  It also aggressively usurps nest boxes used by eastern bluebirds, tree sparrows, and purple martins.
     The house sparrow is actually a weaver finch.  Weaver finches build large colonial nest of loosely woven grasses.  Only once have I seen house sparrows build a typical weaver finch nest.  In the late sixties (somewhere around 1968), house sparrows built a huge nest in a neighbors tree.  The  irregular shaped nest was roughly 5 feet across 3 feet high and 3 feet deep.   To the best of my recollection there were somewhere around thirty birds around the nest.  I have never witness this type of nest since. 
     This house sparrow was photographed at a nest box where a pair of tree swallows were building a nest.  During the shooting session the house sparrow and tree swallows constantly tried to drive each other away form the box.  I only shot for about thirty minutes, but when I left the two birds were still trying to displace the other. 

Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/400 @ f7.1

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