Carry On Sparrow

Foxbat

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I’ve tried googling this but can’t seem to find a definite yes or no so I thought I’d stick it here in case any twitchers are about.

Yesterday, I was in the garden just generally doing odds and sods. I always have a number of sparrows flying around and generally making a racket. So far nothing unusual.Then a male sparrow caught my eye. He looked...strange...as if he had two tails. I could see his normal tail but then, halfway up his back, there appeared to be another much smaller tail. If it was some kind of deformity, it didn’t seem to bother him and he was probably the loudest of the bunch that were busy chirping away in the sunshine. It made me wonder if he was carrying a youngster on his back.

Like I said, Google wasn’t any help, so the question is: do sparrows carry their young?
 

J Riff

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don't think so... i had a very young one jump up onna wall near me t'other day... I picked him up, first time anything like that's ever happened. They hop round here by the dozens, never seen one being carried... but their feathers can get ...damaged or something, maybe stick up..? Or -- it is the deadly 3-wing sparrow of legend,? i think that's cornspiracy theory though./
 

Foxbat

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Ah okay. Thanks folks. Looks like probably damage or deformity then. I must admit, I’d never seen anything like this before and I’d certainly never seen a young sparrow on an adult’s back either :)

P.S. Tried to get a photo but the little ***t wouldn’t sit.
 

Dave

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I'd think it was an injury, but when they take a bath in our bird bath and their feathers get wet, they do stick up, and they look quite different.

We bought a bird feeding station a few years ago, and I put in the pond and the bird bath. Now that the birds have got used to them being there (and always stocked up with food) we get all kinds of things in the garden. I'd never seen sparrows or starlings before here until then. It used to be just blue tits, robins, blackbirds and collared doves. And a sparrowhawk once that took away a blue tit. Now we get all those, plus dunnocks, three goldfinches, greenfinches, coal tits, long-tailed tits, two jays, and a lesser spotted woodpecker comes down too. Amazing when you think I live in the suburbs of a large city.
 

Dave

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^There are woods around London with lesser spotted woodpeckers (even seen green woodpeckers) but I was surprised to see it in my garden as I don't have many trees close to me (National Rail cut them all down :mad: but that's another story). We can hear them sometimes though, more especially at the moment now there isn't so much traffic noise.
 

HareBrain

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There are woods around London with lesser spotted woodpeckers (even seen green woodpeckers)
Funny, green are the ones I see most often.

(National Rail cut them all down :mad: but that's another story)
To avoid the topic veering towards anything remotely political, I shall say nothing. Plus I'd have to invent some near swearwords, and I'm not feeling creative enough.
 

Foxbat

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I often hear a woodpecker around here but never seen one. What we do have in the stream just across the road and down a lane is a kingfisher.

My garden gets the usual crop of birds and some crows that nest in a tree opposite my house. I’m currently trying to prevent the crows from pulling down the feeders and emptying them, leaving the other birds with nothing.

It’s a battle of wits and, so far, the crows are winning - but I have unleashed my secret weapon this morning...I’ve used cable ties to secure the feeders. ;)
 

The Judge

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It’s a battle of wits and, so far, the crows are winning - but I have unleashed my secret weapon this morning...I’ve used cable ties to secure the feeders. ;)
It won't be enough! At least it wasn't for us, as the rook simply pushed the whole thing -- cables and all -- up and off the hook. We're now resorting to duct tape. After that, we'll be looking at the nuclear option -- covering the pole in something like anti-climb paste. The rook can't balance on the feeders, but shins up the pole until he's level with them and attacks them that way. That won't stop his partners-in-crime, the jackdaws, however, as they're smaller and more agile, so the cat will then be pressed into anti-jackdaw service! (We're thinking of having a wall chart made with bird silhouettes so she can differentiate between fair game -- the corvids -- and those she mustn't touch on any account ie everyone else.)
 

Foxbat

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It won't be enough! At least it wasn't for us, as the rook simply pushed the whole thing -- cables and all -- up and off the hook. We're now resorting to duct tape. After that, we'll be looking at the nuclear option -- covering the pole in something like anti-climb paste. The rook can't balance on the feeders, but shins up the pole until he's level with them and attacks them that way. That won't stop his partners-in-crime, the jackdaws, however, as they're smaller and more agile, so the cat will then be pressed into anti-jackdaw service! (We're thinking of having a wall chart made with bird silhouettes so she can differentiate between fair game -- the corvids -- and those she mustn't touch on any account ie everyone else.)
I must admit that I’m full of admiration for the intelligence of these birds (even if they are a complete pain sometimes). My brother studied them when he did his biology degree and is a big fan of corvids (he’s also a big fan of wasps and claims they do far more good than harm but, unfortunately, I just can’t get past that primeval fear of black and yellow).
 

Mouse

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We get loads of woodpeckers here - lesser spotted and green. Seen trees full of the little black and white jobbies. :)

We had a blackbird with no tail in our garden the other day (he was being quite brave and hopping about quite happily with me out there as Derek, the pheasant, was out there with me).
 

The Judge

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Derek the pheasant??! I don't know if we have a better class of pheasant here, but the one who visits us is clearly a Colonel in an Indian regiment during the Raj. He wanders around in full dress uniform muttering to himself about the loss of Empire, hrrumphs loudly if discommoded (eg by the cat looking at him), and is usually accompanied by his long-suffering and dowdy wife, aka the Memsahib.

However, the rook lets the tone down -- he's Roland, a WWII spiv, always looking to sell stuff (probably our stolen fat balls) on the black market.
 

Mouse

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Derek's proper scruffy though. He did briefly have a very pretty, clearly much younger, missus, but she's since left him.
 

Dave

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House Sparrows. I think the other reason they come to the garden is we have a hawthorn and holly hedge. You don't see many hedges in gardens, not with native species of trees. It's all Leylandii and stuff with poisonous leaves. They are nesting in there, but a baby fell out today. They were feeding it on the ground but it's gone now so i expect one of the predatory cats got it while we were having dinner. Not sure what more we could do. The RSPB recommend not touching fallen chicks otherwise the mother will reject it and stop feeding it, but they are so vulnerable on the ground. :(
 

Foxbat

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A few years back, I was bothered by the sounds of birds upstairs. It eventually twigged to me that they were in the house. Deciding to investigate, I got my ladders and gently opened the hatch to the attic. Because the hatch cover was tilted, I almost fell off the ladders when a sparrow fledgling dropped out and bounced down the stairs. Miraculously, it was unhurt and I cupped it in my hands. It immediately felt silent and I was also surprised how warm it was. I took it out into the garden and placed it under a hedge. I then went back into the house, keeping watch from the kitchen window and was delighted to see the parents arrive and left them to it. Later on, neither parents nor chick were anywhere to be seen. I don’t know if it survived but I did what I could.

I’ve since had the roof renewed and (so far) no evidence of nesting birds in the attic. I’m assuming that the original problem was that sparrows nested on the outside but the chick fell through a gap inside the roof...hence all the chirping and commotion.

Found this
 

The Judge

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In case anyone is worried about the possible demise of the starling in England, fear not. There are about 35 of the little buggers on our lawn at the moment.

Its chaos out there! Each adult is being pestered, pecked and in some cases knocked over by up to four juveniles with permanently open beaks. I'm not even sure if it's solely parents feeding their own offspring -- the babies are just rushing up to any bird that's got food. And the noise!
 
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