Saturday, July 24, 2010

Parenting is for the birds

This summer, a couple of House Sparrows decided to make their nest in a hole in the wall above my office's back door. It has been an fantastic distraction over the past couple weeks (though the chirping gets a little grating).

I ended up taking a bazillion photos of the young family and thought I'd share.

First, here's your cast:


The hungry babies
I probably got too interested in these birds, but I have to say I was pretty impressed. Unlike some human parenting structures, both momma and poppa took turns feeding their young -- alternating trips to gather bugs and bringing them back to the nest on a near-constant basis.

A few days after the above photos were taken, the chicks left the nest. The sparrow family didn't go far though, hanging around around the back-door/parking lot area.

For whatever reason, I hadn't realized that fledglings aren't necessarily able to fly when they leave their nest.
That was one of the chicks that apparently hadn't figured out how to use his/her wings yet. Sadly, I think it was hit and killed by a car in our lot the following day.
This guy or gal, however, had the flying thing down well enough to stay comfortably above oblivious auto drivers.

Another thing I hadn't realized is that the bird parenting doesn't end when the babies leave the nest. As an example, here's dad, providing a tasty berry snack to his out-of-the-home progeny.
Perhaps in a year or two, one of the surviving chicks will decide to start a nest of their own nearby, giving me another chance to waste a ton of time.


Anonymous said...

Bias aside, these photos belong in National Geographic - seriously!!

Anonymous said...

Nicely done!
-- Rob

Anonymous said...

Wow! You have become quite the photographer. I look forward to seeing future generations of House Sparrows ;)