Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So Sorry!

Terribly remiss of me but I haven't bored you to tears lately with rhapsodical expressions of delight over the birds visiting our feeder.

Let me correct my error.

In addition to the birds noted in earlier posts we have noted in the past few weeks the following visitors:

1. The purple finch. Oh but they are cute! It's hard to count, but I think we have three pairs, as there are three brilliant little males who always come together, accompanied by the plain females who look like a pale sparrow.

2. Just for fun, compare the purple finch to our other red visitor, the hoary redpoll.

3. We have pine warblers as well as the magnolia warblers I described earlier. They are wearing a duller "winter" coat now, but will become bright canary yellow as breeding season approaches.

4. We also have what looks like a little mutant house sparrow. He looks as if he has a little pile of snow on his head. At first I thought he was a white-capped sparrow, but he doesn't have the black bordered white stripe of the white-capped. The pattern of his white colouration was what tipped me off that he might have a mutation. He has a white cap, otherwise the feathers on the left side of his head are white, while on the right side they are brown.

We aren't the only ones with a mutant sparrow. I happened on this Q & A on a nature site:

Q: I have an English sparrow coming to my feeder that has an all-white cap (not at all like the white-capped sparrow). Is this a species or a mutation? This bird has all the markings of the Eng. sparrow but a white cap instead of a gray one. Help!

Bird expert George Harrison answered: The English sparrow (proper common name house sparrow) apparently has some partial albinism in the feathers on its head. This is not unusual among songbirds, including house sparrows.

And of course we're still supporting a small army of California quail, sparrows of many descriptions, the occasional starling, a downy woodpecker, the flickers, and a few chickadees. All of this bird activity just outside the door drives the cat to distraction at times, but it gives him something to think about besides being naughty.

2 comments:

SMM said...

He is just jealous as he doesn't know how to fly.

OutHouse Capital of Canada said...

we also fatten up the birds for the hawks by putting seed just outside the window. Our windows are tinted so the birds dont see you move around and with the new camera can get some nice closeups.
we have been getting Mourning Doves, about three pair.