Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Oh House Sparrows, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Here I am, 14 days and 29 species into my year of birds and there is one bird that is missing from my list. The damn house sparrow.

It isn’t from lack of trying or lack of familiarity; I know my house sparrows. My former advisor did research on them. My former office mate did research on them. I know probably at least a dozen people who have done research on them. I have seen hundreds of hours of talks on them. I have heard hundreds of hours of them making house sparrow sounds due to people watching videos of them in the same lab that I would do work in. I have seen people trap them, including in my own front yard!

When I lived in Kentucky I would have many bird feeders out and would always have house sparrows (plus a few more species of sparrow). I’ve seen them in every state I have ever been in, and I know people who have seen them in Hawaii and in the middle of an Australian desert. The last time I visited Paul, I drove through Ohio and stopped at the Columbus Zoo and saw one there hanging out on deer antlers and singing.

I have seen them everywhere, but now that I am counting species they are nowhere to be found!

I thought I saw one in the Target parking lot at the Springfield mall, but it was in the distance and behind a car. There were ring billed gulls there though, and don’t even get me started on the fact that I have seen hundreds of gulls this year and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has been a ring billed gull. And they like to trot out the juvenile birds just to mess with your head and make you think “oh this one is different!” when it turns out to be yet another ring billed gull.

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