Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sparrow curiosity

As I've been chronicling here, we have been observing our backyard birds much more closely this year. What a fascinating show we'd been missing all of those years!

Yesterday, something quite curious was taking place. I'm hoping that someone might be able to help me out. I took some pictures and a video; unfortunately, they are not high quality.

There was a fledgling in our yard who followed a sparrow around, begging for food. The sparrow kept coming back and feeding the fledgling.

Here, the fledgling (on the right) is following the sparrow (on the left). I think this is a chipping sparrow, but was so enthralled with the activity going on, I wasn't concentrating on looking for specific field marks, so this could be a different kind of sparrow.
In this picture, the fledgling has his beak wide open, waiting for the adult to feed him. Which the adult did right after I took this picture.I did get some of this on video:

We watched this for probably 10 minutes, until they went through the fence and into my neighbor's yard.

This all seemed quite normal to me, except that the baby bird was a giant compared to the adult. And it didn't just look like fluffiness. Is the baby a cowbird? It can't possibly be a sparrow, right? This was just so fascinating!


Elizabeth said...

I was thinking the same thing. He looks awfully large. You always hear about cowbirds taking over the nests of more delicate species like bluebirds, but it happens to sparrows as well.

Mary said...

Thanks -- I was hoping you'd post! Thomas kept telling me it was a sparrow who was just fluffed up, but I really don't think so.