Draw a bird day – juvenile house sparrows

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House sparrows are by far the most numerous birds in my Calgary neighbourhood and these days, many of them are juveniles. Yesterday, I heard a house sparrow mega-choir and went to investigate. I saw a house with a roof covered in pigeons and a few magpies. The trees and bushes around the house were filled with house sparrows. A hole in the hedge revealed a yard crowded with house sparrows and pigeons. I thought this was one strange event, but today I found out this feeding frenzy has been happening twice a day for 7 years.

The two sparrows in the drawing were in front of another house, on another day, with twenty or so other house sparrows. I thought twenty was a big group but I suppose that is relative. Here is a little peek through the hedge at the sparrow and pigeon jamboree. The scattered green leaves are likely from the two ten-minute quarter-sized hailstorms that hit southwest Calgary this week.

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38 Comments

    1. Thanks Deborah :-). I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable with drawing feather details.

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      1. Well I’m envious! 🙂

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        1. Nonsense :-)! I have been using the grid advice you gave me after my first drawing. Besides helping me get the proportions right, it helps me notice details and relationships that my mind seems to fill in automatically (and sometimes incorrectly) if I just look at the big picture.

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          1. Oh I’m so glad that tip helped you! It really helped you take off! I’m looking forward to seeing your progression.

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            1. Thanks for your encouragement… and all the really delicious looking pictures you’ve been posting lately of your cooking and baking :-).

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  1. Wow! I am so impressed with the beautiful drawing you did for today! I’m not a fan of house sparrows, but yours are terrific!

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    1. Thanks Teresa :-). I’m starting to feel a little more familiar with illustrating bird shapes and feathers. It is an interesting mini-world to explore.

      I would prefer if house sparrows weren’t such a huge percentage of the bird population here, but I’ve decided to embrace their plenty by taking lots of pictures of them. I get a lot of lame ones, but sometimes I got some cool new “sparrow moves”. I thought these two birds struck a pretty cute pose (for a second!).

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      1. You take beautiful photos! And all birds are beautiful; I just prefer some to others. 😉

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        1. Haha! I’ve been feeling a little defensive about house sparrows lately. Thanks for the compliment :-). I have bird favourites too. I just got a bird feeder, and the occasional visits by the red-breasted nuthatch thrill me the most.

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          1. I love Red-breasted Nuthatches! We rarely get them. We almost always get the White. Hope you’ll get tons of cool birds at your new feeder!

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            1. Oo, I’ve never seen a White-breasted Nuthatch.

              Right now the feeder mostly attracts House finches, House sparrows and Chickadees. But I’m hoping that when fall and winter come along, we’ll get other visitors. Maybe. There was a Western Tanager hanging out in our backyard for 3 days a couple of weeks ago. But it seems to have disappeared.

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            2. The really interesting ones are always more elusive (or is it because they’re elusive that we think they’re interesting?). :}

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            3. Rarity definitely helps to elicit interest. But there is also colour, undeniable good looks, grace and fancy wing-work. And then there is unusual behaviour like brood parasitism or the ability to use tools.

              But not much beats: “OMG, I’ve never seen one of those before.” Ultimate bird thrill!

              I remember going to the Bloedel Conservatory with my sister earlier this summer. We had a lot of fun looking for the elusive Touraco.

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            4. I have been inside the Conservatory just once since I moved to Vancouver in 1972…and it’d been so long I don’t remember it. We’ll have to make a plan to go next time we go to Vancouver since the kids hadn’t been inside.

              Yeah, the thrill of seeing a new species is pretty awesome! 🙂

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  2. Myriam, you’ve slammed it out of the park once again!! WOW! Love your sparrows! Like Teresa, I’ve never really been a fan, but I contemplated inking one the other day and they have the cutest faces and markings! And I see you’ve really captured that here. Well done!!! 😀 Thanks for joining us!!!

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    1. Thanks Laura :-). You’re so wonderfully encouraging.

      House sparrows can be problematic because they are really good at reproducing and thriving in human environments. But they are small and cute and make cute sounds and their poop is not as gross as pigeon poop.

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      1. Lol! Reasons to like them! Thank you! 😊

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  3. Beautiful sketches Myriam, thanks for posting.

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    1. Thanks Sharon :-). Your art is beautiful. I love the way you illustrated the wee chipmunk this week.

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      1. Thank you Myriam. The little fellow was fun to draw.

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  4. your sketches are awesome!!

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    1. Thanks for your enthusiastic appreciation Hui :-).

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  5. Wow Miriam!!!! WOW!!! So glad Laura shared your link so I could find you and realize what an ARTIST YOU are!

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    1. Wow! Thanks Jodi :-). I’m enjoying my once a month drawing time. I pick a picture and play. I wish I was exploring more… but I’m not quite ready to make the time commitment. So I’m exploring a little.

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    1. Thanks Beverly :-). And thanks for drawing many beautiful birds and flowers.

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  6. Beautiful drawing. You have captured the textures perfectly.

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  7. You’ll never convince me to like these feathered rats, but oh my goodness, your drawing is wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Melissa :-). I still like house sparrows when there are less than 10 in my backyard. But I had about 200 a few weeks ago after getting a bird feeder. So I got a new, house-sparrow-unfriendly feeder.

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        1. Not 100%. The feeder is a tube with holes, with no feeding platforms. House Sparrows prefer platforms but there are a few that are ok with eating while clinging. Once in a while small group of sparrows (10 or less) will hang out in the spruces while 1 to 3 sparrows cling to the feeder. But the group is always small and they only stay for a short time. So there is plenty of time left for the Black-capped Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches to use the feeder as well. And the squirrels use it too, for now. Oh, and occasionally a Black-billed Magpie will scare whoever is on the feeder and briefly cling to and peck at the feeder.

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          1. Sounds like an invitation to a Cooper’s Hawk. Do you have those?

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            1. Hmm. My hawk identifying skills are not very good but I don’t think I’ve seen any Cooper’s Hawks in Calgary yet. So far, I’ve identified a Swainson’s hawk and a merlin. I haven’t seen any hawking my yard yet.

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            2. I’m not so good with hawks either. The common hawk here is the Red-tailed, but we’ve started getting Cooper’s Hawks now. It is taking awhile, but species are coming back from the DDT debacle.

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