Arboretum sparrow patch - gone condo?
Took a bag of seed to the arboretum this afternoon after being out of town
for a week and discovered a new look at the sparrow patch. Biggest platform
feeder I've seen! Complete with a 30 gallon hopper.
I was there from 2:15 to 3:00, dozens of birds feeding. As usual they would
flush and return. There were far more House Finches than I had seen on
previous visits and when they retreated to the tree tops, I decided to make a
count. After totaling 61, I returned my gaze to the patch to find a lone
bird perched on the edge of the feeder roof, an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk.
After posing for a moment, he hopped into the brush flushing a couple LBJs
which he briefly chased unsuccessfully. Having failed, he flew to high perch
in a tree. Needless to say, the patch remained pretty quiet except for 4
Black-capped Chickadees flitting in one feeder bush...evidently feeling safe
as I was between them and the Sharp-shinned.
61 House Finch
20+ Dark-eyed Junco
8 Black-billed Magpie (flying overhead)
6-8 House Sparrow
4-6 White-crowned Sparrow (all imm.)
4 Black-capped Chickadee
2 Song Sparrow
2 Fox Sparrow
1 Spotted Towhee
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
Quail were heard but not seen
If you are a a fellow beginner (I hope I'm not the only one in this group), I
would encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity that Denny has
created at the arboretum. It's a great place to sit close and observe bird
behavior and work on ID skills. In the past I have tried to stretch Song
Sparrows and immature White-crowned Sparrows into something more exotic.
After a few trips to the patch, I have a better handle on the more common
sparrows and even feel comfortable with Fox Sparrow ID. Plus you may see the
Harris' and/or White-throated Sparrows!
Hope the weather holds till you get there.