Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Wednesday Vignette: Saucy Sparrows

The white-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia leucophrys) seem to arrive as a flock, swamping my feeders and emptying them in record time (with some help from the finches).  As I looked out my home office window Monday afternoon, I noted that the three feeders I can see were once again empty, or at least nearly so.


But the sparrows didn't take off.  Some hopped about cleaning up seed on the ground but others went after my succulents, specifically the Aeonium arboreum currently in flower.

This particular sparrow, perched atop an asparagus fern, was well-behaved

However, this was one of several that focused on my Aeoniums

Nothing in The Cornell Lab's summary of this bird's behavior mentions an appetite for succulents

but I've seen these same birds go after these succulents in previous years

They even fought over Aeonium flowers.

This was a temporary detente.  One bird always chased the others away before nipping away the the flowers.

I got around to refilling the feeders yesterday afternoon.

This isn't a great photo but I noticed a single bird calmly sitting on the refilled feeder, as if wondering where all his cohorts were

Hopefully, the full feeders will distract them from the succulents, at least for a time.

In other unusual bird news, while taking photos in my front garden, I thought I saw a crane standing on the flat roof of a neighbor's house several doors down the street.  After convincing myself that I might have seen the bird move his head, I ran and got my telephoto camera lens as cranes certainly aren't a common sight here.

It's definitely not a real bird.  It didn't move or turn its head.  It's not clear why it was put there, just beyond what appear to be solar panels.  Perhaps, like the plastic owls I often seen mounted on roofs, its purpose was to scare away other birds.

For more Wednesday vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2022 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

10 comments:

  1. Good shots of the sparrows eating their veggies! Since your Aeonium are so vibrant and plentiful I don't suppose the nibbling hurts the plant too much.

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    1. Although they also picked at the Aeoniums without flowers, they seems the be particularly attracted to the plants with flowers. As I have an exceptionally large number of Aeonium arboreum bloom stalks this year, I'm not really concerned. I just found the behavior odd as I haven't seen any other birds go after succulents like that.

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  2. Isn't it interesting how we can be sure we saw movement? I've tricked myself more often than I care to admit.

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    1. I knew it could be a figment of my imagination but getting closer to the neighbor's house didn't help as the road slopes downward, putting me too low to see the "bird." I knew I'd kick myself if it flew away before I could get a photo, hence the scurry to get a telephoto lens to photograph a fake crane!

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  3. I guess bird's don't read the books. Rebels!

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    1. "Something" is eating the flowers on my largest aloe too...

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  4. I wonder if there are aphids that add to the sparrow's flower attraction? I've never thought of them as flower eaters, but more seed eaters. Nature is full of wonders!

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    1. I just checked the Aeonium favored by the sparrows and couldn't find any sign of aphids. In the past, I've wondered if they're attracted to the juicy plants because they're seeking water but then the fountain's close by. Now that I've refilled the feeders, there's less attention to the Aeoniums but it hasn't entirely stopped.

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