So Many Sparrows

One benefit of having a bird feeder right outside our front window is that it’s like bird watching but without actually having to leave my house. I’ve started leaving my camera sitting right next to the window, so any time I happen to see an interesting bird I can get a photo of it before it flies away.

The most common type of bird we typically see visiting our feeder are sparrows, though some species of the sparrow are more common than others.

House Sparrows

House sparrows are the most common bird we have at our feeder. They originated in the Middle East but now live as invasive species all over the world. They tend to completely take over our feeder, making it difficult for endemic species to get to the seeds. Unfortunately there isn’t really a way for us to keep the feeder but avoid feeding invasive birds, so we just have to deal with them.

Photo of a house sparrow

White-Throated Sparrows

Last spring we had many white-throated sparrows visit our yard. They tend to visit us in the fall and spring. Their white stripes and bits of yellow help them really stand out among all the house sparrows.

photo of a white-throated sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrows

The white-crowned sparrows tend to come the same time of year as the white-throated sparrows. They also look similar but do not have the white patch on their throat nor the yellow spots above their eyes, plus their white head stripes are much whiter than that of the white-throated sparrows and they have a bright orange beak. They are certainly the flashiest sparrows we have hanging out in our yard.

photo of a White-Crowned Sparrow

Dark-Eyed Juncos

During the winter we sometimes have dark-eyed junco’s visit us. In photographs they often look a bit weird because their name-sake dark eyes blend into their dark-colored feathers, making it look like they don’t have any eyes. In order to avoid creepy photos of eyeless birds, I try to get photos with a catch light (the reflection of light in their eye) so that their eyes are visible.

photo of a dark-eyed junco

Jamie Bernstein

Jamie Bernstein is a data, stats, policy and economics nerd who sometimes pretends she is a photographer. She is @uajamie on Twitter and Instagram. If you like my work here at Skepchick & Mad Art Lab, consider sending me a little sumthin' in my TipJar: @uajamie

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