Sparrows and stuff

How come we have so many house sparrows here in 'remote' Mellon Charles, where there are so few houses? I've read that these birds are sadly in precipitous decline. Whatever, I'm not complaining for I love the cheeky, nondescript little chappies with their dark brown bibs and heads and the chappesses with their ... even more nondescript.

I have my breakfast each morning sitting up in our kitchen in front of a large window - my veritable window on the world - where I can take in the day's weather and note how urgently I really, really must get to work on the garden (sorry, Dee) and the interplay of an absolute plethora of birdlife (much greater interest!).

I've written before about pecking order so I won't get into that except to say that our tribe of house sparrow, numerically by far the strongest, is right there at the bottom of the heap. Well, perhaps equal to the greenfinches and chaffinches but definitely below (in order of ascendancy) the robins, blackbirds and thrushes, turtle doves, woodpigeons, hooded crows and herring gulls. There are of course others of our feathered friends flitting around here whenever the buzzards or sparrowhawks are absent but those listed are the only ones sharing our table. And I'm discounting the chickens, cockerel, geese and ducks owned by or owning, not too sure which, our next door crofters Kittie and her daughter Anne.

Back to the sparrows. Last week they were performing their group circus act on and around the slender, gracefully curving, three metre high stems of pampas grass. Clearly the seeds are a special once a year treat, for the gyrations of the birds as they land on the swaying stems and shuffle about, upside down or right way up, have to be seen to be believed. I felt like applauding. This week all the brown feathery attention is turned to the succulent, shiny red rugosa rosehips and no doubt we'll soon be seeing them descend in force on the rowan tree, this year absolutely covered in fast ripening fruits.

Long may the sparrows feast. Winter will come soon enough.

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