Bird Lady Blog

July 7, 2012

House Birds Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 10:56 pm
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House Wren Photo Courtesy of Gordon Karre

The last edition’s Article #33 was Part I of our “house” birds – those that are most likely to show up around your home.   But those birds I wrote about two weeks ago were not a complete list of house and cabin birds – we still have Acorn Woodpeckers and Anna’s and Broad-Winged Hummingbirds that are frequent visitors, and of course the Western Bluebird and the swallows.  In Munds Park we have three species of swallows:  Barn, Violet-Green, and Tree.   The folks who can see our swallows the easiest are probably those who live in the condos just off of Hole 10 on Pinewood Country Club.

The rest of this article is about three Munds Park birds that have the word “House” in their common, non-scientific name:  House Finch, House Sparrow, and House Wren.

The male House Finch is mostly brown but has a red head and breast, and the females are a streaked gray/brown with no other distinctive markings.  House finches have a wonderful, cheerful song, long and twittering.  It is a bird primarily found in the West, in all types of habitats from our city parks to backyards to deserts and forest edges.  If you put up a bird seed feeder in any of our towns throughout the state, you will most likely be visited by a House Finch.    I have never had a House Finch at our feeders in Munds Park, although I know others who have, and I have heard and seen them in the residential areas closer to the golf course.

The chunky House Sparrow is a non-native bird that was introduced into the U.S. in the mid-1800’s by people who wanted to establish wildlife familiar to people of European descent.  House Sparrows are now found throughout the U.S. and are one of the few species in the country that are not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  The male has a gray head, white cheek, black bib, and rufous neck.  The bird is despised by many – it takes up nesting spots from cavity-nesting birds like bluebirds and is a pest in large cities.  You can see a small number of House Sparrows around the patio area of Pinewood Country Club.  The House Sparrow is a perfect example of how non-native species bring havoc to a new environment – in this case, affecting native songbirds, farmland, and cities in all 50 states.  Two hundred years ago there were no House Sparrows in the U.S. at all – today their numbers are estimated in the hundreds of millions.

The House Wren is a common back-yard bird, and though I haven’t seen one in Munds Park personally, I have had a report of one.  It is a small, plain brown bird with a fairly long, curved beak, and its tail is usually cocked above the line of its body or drooped down.  It is a bubbly and energetic bird, hopping around from bush to thicket, and when it sings, it delivers a trilling song, over and over.  This bird will happily nest in a next box.  Native Americans call this bird o-du-na-mis-sug-ud-da-we-shi, which means “making a big noise for its size”.  If you think you have a House Wren on your property, I would really like to hear from you.


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