|Male House Sparrow|
Actually, the snow is all melting very fast, but I'm still having fun with the birds, so this is what I have for you. For example, the picture at the top. I caught this male house sparrow in mid-tweet! I love getting pictures of birds when their beaks are open. He was really a noisy little guy.
One odd thing about my study of birds is that while I think I'm getting good at identifying some of them, I have a lot of trouble remembering what any particular bird sounds like. I'm beginning to be able to know if it's a robin I hear, but they have a few different calls. I know a red-winged blackbird when I hear one, because they have one very beautiful sound and one very ugly one, both distinctive from other birds. For any other small bird, all I really remember so far is tweet tweet tweet. All of them the same.
WhatBird.com. This is a legitimate field guide, right on the internet. It should help you at least with North American birds, maybe more. There are plenty of other resources on the internet, but this is the one I'll share today.
And how do I know this is a male house sparrow? Uh, that link I gave you. Actually house sparrows are a good kind of bird that you can identify male from female. Some birds are almost impossible. Males, like the one in my pictures today, have a black beak with a lot of black on his throat. A female doesn't have the black throat, and her beak is a pale color. That's as technical as I'll get this time; we want to keep this fun.
This is very interesting because the house sparrows outside my house seem to always be in mixed groups with starlings, another kind of bird with a very similar bad reputation. I guess these bad boys of the bird world like to hang out with each other. It's really odd to see this little puffball in my pictures, knowing that it's really quite small, and think it could actually do any harm to any other living thing.
Let's end this on a more positive note. House sparrows are actually very social little creatures. These little birds fly right up on my porch while I'm out there. They are also willing to perch in the closer trees while I'm out taking pictures. The starlings always stay farther away than that. In Japan the sparrow is a symbol of loyalty because of their social nature. I like house sparrows.