Stopped for lunch on my way to Exeter today at Taunton Dean services. Whilst I was sitting there eating a butty in the car I had a couple of sparrows hop onto my side mirror. Opened the window and they hopped onto the ground so I threw a bit of crust to them. Closed the window and after a few moments one of them hopped back on the mirror. So I opened the window again to lob another bit of crust to the spudgies. To my surprise and delight, the little chap on the mirror didn't fly away when I opened window, but kept sitting there and when I slowly offered him the bit of bread he took it from my hand. Probably the only bird I'll have eating from my hand.
Robins will become very bold when you are digging or rummaging where worms or insects might be disturbed - sitting on your spade as soon as you turn away - blackbirds sometimes too (though usually less so). My father had a tame blackbird that would feed from his hand.
There's a little lakeside bar in Sirmione (Lake Garda) where the sparrows mooch for bits of the snacks you get with a drink. They'll happily take scraps from your fingers, and some will hop on you hand to select the tastiest/biggest bit. Of the snack, that is, not the hand. I probably wouldn't try it with, say, a lammergeier.
Birds, both water and land have been fed bread since time immemorial, I see no reason to change that because big bird feed companies think they will sell more seed so they produce 'studies' to stop you feeding bread.
If you went to St James's Park in London, you used to be able to stand in front of the shrubbery with a handful of breadcrumbs or chopped nuts and have half a dozen sparrows and other small birds feeding off your hand simultaneously. I don't know what's happened but you don't see them any more.
Fed a sparrow by hand at Thorpe Park recently though.
Yes, I did! That's the one. Thanks for that. That's "our" little squadron of sparrows that we cherished and watch grow and mature in our back garden last year, and fortunately, this year they are still here, with a few more which we take to be their offspring.
The birdbath is outside our kitchen window, and it is a delight to watch them every day.
The best bit is, all eight of them having taken their ablution, the last one out turns round and has a quick swig of the bathwater! Lovely stuff!
For a different avian experience, a visit to the tropical section of Birdland at Bourton-on-the-Water wearing something tweedy or generally hairy would have Hummingbirds hovering round you removing fibres for their nests.
Saw a thing on telly a few years back that said the Cockney Sparrow was all but extint and only a small colony of same exist somewhere beside London Zoo,plenty of them around here, though up here they chirp in Geordie.
Last edited by tony draper; 4th Oct 2012 at 21:38.
As I've reported earlier elsewhere on here, our sparrows are extremely localised. I live down a hill towards the river and we don't see any sparrows, despite the usual bird-feeders filled with the usual treats hanging in the gardens, however, a mere 100 yards away, at the top of the hill, are colonies of sparrows that nest in the guttering and eaves of the houses that line the main street (a much more urban environment with no gardens or feeders to attract them). They obviously survive and thrive as they can be heard chattering noisily as you walk along the street.
vulcanised, oooh, thanks for that. I didn't know there was a walk-in hummingbird enclosure in the UK; I've only ever been to the one near Tucson. Next time we're in the area, we'll look in to Birdland.
There are several small "knots" (honest!) of sparrows around Croydon - one inhabits several gardens along Drovers Road in South Croydon; they always seem to be there when I walk past.
Sparrows might not be vocally as attractive as blackbirds, robins, etc, but I like their cheerful chatter and would be pleased to see them back in my garden. Much nicer than the shrieks of those bloody ring necked parakeets that seem ever more plentiful.
It's interesting that the sparrows are in quantity about 100 yards down the 'road' to the public road: it's fairly open there except for the hedges. and they don't enter the more wooded area. Where the trees start sees chaffinches, and with more trees as in the radeng garden, Great Tits (popularly referred to as 'canadian managers'!), Robins, Blackbirds, the occasional Mistle Thrush, Magpies, Wood Pigeon, the odd Dove, Tree Creepers and Wagtails appear. Occasionally, a Jay. Some Wrens in the hedge behind the house on occasion, and some Redwings last winter.
Strangely, there appear to be two pairs of robins, but they don't fight. They have tried to irritate the cats, but the cats now ignore them.
Noticed this last decade or so that Thrushes are not as common as they were in me Park,lots of Blackbirds scuttling about the grass looking for worms, there used to be about a equal number of Thrushes doing the same at one time,not any more. Something I have noticed on my bird feeder, Starlings fight like cat and dog over access to the fat ball ie if one is pecking at it and another lands to do the same they will fight until one buggas off,yet they will happily share the fat ball with a Sparrow. Go figure, as the cousins are wont to say.