Saturday, November 17, 2007

Garden tick

Tree (left) and House Sparrows. Note how colossal the HS looks by comparison

Tree Sparrow!

Male House Sparrow

Exciting times in the garden over the past couple of days. Yesterday, D was at home feeling ill. He happened to glance out of the window and saw a Tree Sparrow sitting in the bush! That came as a bit of a shock as we didn't know of any others nearby.

We invited Mark round today to catch and ring a few garden birds, as there are quite a few around at the moment. He put up a single net between the bush and the two feeders and in a couple of hours we were quite successful: the expected Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robins, Dunnocks, House Sparrows, Chaffinches and Greenfinches. Oh, and a Tree Sparrow!

We were probably unlucky not to get a woodpecker (one Green seen this morning, and three Great Spots all at once this afternoon), or a Sparrowhawk. I think the Jackdaws (which have been using both peanut and sunflower feeders) might be too canny to get caught. Perhaps we'll get them next time.

It will be really interesting to see whether the Tree Sparrow stays for the winter. Steve says it's typical for them to wander about at this time of year. This area has a number of features which should be good for them and we'll be getting some nestboxes in place for next spring.

Fingers crossed. Maybe this is the start of a new colony?

  • Blue Tit, 16
  • Great Tit, 6
  • Greenfinch, 6
  • House Sparrow, 3
  • Chaffinch, 2
  • Dunnock, 2
  • Coal Tit, 2
  • Robin, 1
  • Tree Sparrow, 1
photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995


  1. Wow, Katie :-)

    I know this is a small very ordinary looking little bird but I always watch our groups of Housesparrows to see if any come to my garden. Congrats I hope it stays a while and you post many photos :-D

    BTW How did you catch it to hold it? These really are great shots especially the comparison one :-D

  2. Hi Shirl

    Thanks for your comment. We haven't seen it for a few weeks now so assume it's moved on somewhere else or back where it came from. We'll keep an eye out for it, though.

    Re: how we caught it, one of our friends, Mark, is a licensed bird ringer and we invited him round. We set up a mist net (really fine mesh) between two poles between two of the feeders and the bush. Birds then fly into the net and get stuck, at which point Mark goes and extracts them very carefully. Then measurements can be taken and a metal ring put on, and they're released unharmed.

    We've seen quite a few ringed birds in the garden since.

    More info here: