Thursday, May 1, 2008

José, pájaro hilarante (José, hilarious bird).

José, Golden-crowned Sparrow.

This fellow appeared in our back yard three days ago, and has pretty much taken over. He sits on the patio, watching for any other passerine who might dare come near the empty sunflower seed husks that are scattered beneath where the feeder used to be.

He has so far attacked, and chased away perhaps for good, the last of the juncos. He has also assaulted his congener, Mr. White-Crowned Sparrow, and, somewhat annoying, confronted a Hermit Thrush (first of '08) just as I was about to photograph it.

He also attacks dandelions.

He was named José by the kids. They asked me where he came from. I said, "I dunno, Mexico maybe?" And so he became José.

Every so often someone looks out the window to report what José is up to. Usually he's sitting and staring at the shrubbery, guarding his sunflower seed husks. Sometimes he stares back at us, which is amusing. Click on the picture and try not to giggle.

José, imperious stare.

Today he has taken to lurking in the perennials. For a while he sat in a mound of Coreopsis with just his head visible. Then he switched to a peony.

José, in peony.

We are wondering what holds him here. I don't know of Golden-crowned Sparrows breeding nearby; their breeding range is mostly much farther north in the province and in Alaska, so he's not likely to find a mate in our yard. He flew all the way from Mexico (or wherever) for this?

Will he soon be on his way? Stay tuned.


Amy said...

Aww, Jose is muy bonita. I have to wonder if he ate a bad seed shell to be giving you such a challenging stare. He is almost daring you to take his picture!
You (and your camera) take great shots. What kind of camera do you use, if you don't mind me asking?

BerryBird said...

You were right: that picture made me laugh. The little guy is just bursting with personality.

Hugh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hugh said...

Thanks Amy. Most of the pictures were taken using an Olympus point & shoot C-750 Ultra-zoom. It's a good little camera, but slow to focus and reset. It's ancient too, 5 years old.

Two weeks ago I bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi, a relatively inexpensive but powerful camera (instant focus, rapid-fire). As a digital SLR, it provides possibilities beyond those of a point & shoot. Mostly I use the 75-300 mm zoom lens, so this is not a pocket camera. I checked out the images of other nature bloggers who use Flickr. That site provides data for each image on camera used, etc. Several of my favourite bloggers used this camera, which was something I considered. (Berrybird also recommended it -- thanks BB!)

Amy said...

Oooh! Congratulations on your new camera. It's like getting a new family member. I've been reading your blog for a while now and was aware of your frustration with the slow shutter of your old camera. Then I noticed how great the recent shots have been looking. I just bought my first digital SLR, too- this past week. I have been annoying every bird that lands at our feeders ever since. Maybe they feel that our yard is some exotic new Audubon Society hot spot. Paparazzi everywhere! It feels that way when you attach the 75-300 lens!

Anywho, thanks again for sharing the story of Jose. I think I hear little castanets every time I look at that picture.