Tuesday, 23 July 2013

House Sparrow feeding young

House Sparrow Passer domesticus

    I am not quite sure how this came about but in our yard we have one male House Sparrow feeding a single offspring. The two birds are basically inseparable and the young one wastes no time soliciting food by wing fluttering and cheeping on a constant basis. I have no idea what has happened to the female, or presumably to other members of the same clutch, but one certainly could not fault the dedication of this male in feeding his progeny.
    When one takes into account the fact that DNA studies often reveal mixed parentage in the same clutch of eggs, one can only hope that the effort this adult is making is invested in his own genes!


  1. It has really been interesting following all your accounts of young birds - especially the ones about the cowbirds.

  2. I also find it very interesting that the male bird is more concerned about feeding the young one. I would like to share a great experience I had with these birds. It is a slightly different situation. Almost 1 and half months back, outside the window of our 2nd floor apartment besides the AC, heard constant chirping for many days. Upon opening the shutter that was attached to the AC, found the sparrow nest with 3 young ones. At first, I was not sure whether I should feed them as they were constantly chirping. Anyway, the adult bird especially the male, visits every 10 or 20 mts with a worm or other food in its beak and feed the young. One night, I found the young ones were constantly chirping and the adults were not in the cage. In fact, only the young ones stayed in the nest at night. So, I took them and fed with tiny bits of smashed banana, which they seemed to like. After some days, one of the young birds slip or flew from the nest. It was night, so I couldn't see anything on the outside. The next morning, I found the bird as lying dead on the grass. Then, I thought it is dangerous to keep these in the nest as they were eager to fly though they were not able. Anyway, I kept it back into the nest. After few days, the second one, which is a also bigger flew away. I went outside and found it to be safely landed on the ground. It went into the bush and disappeared. I hope it is alive now. The third one was very small compared to the other two. It was also eager to fly. I took it inside the apartment and fed them with banana, for proteins, it was fed with smashed boiled eggs, boiled lentils etc. It seemed to be growing well. During that time too, the male bird visit outside the window with a worm in its beak every 30 mts or so, but couldn't feed it so after a while it stopped bringing food. Though, it made sure that it visits outside the window once or twice daily.

    In the early days, the young one was a bit cautious and try to hide in places within the room where our hands couldn't normally reach. After a while, it became very attached. Then also, it tries to play with us "hide and seek". Started eating by its own when I kept foods on a small plate. I tried to give bird food, but it didn't like it. Its favorite were eggs and chickpeas. One thing I noticed is it was constantly trying to fly, first by hopping, little by little it was able to fly a bit. It was also very naughty. When I try to work on my laptop, it flew to my laptop. I kept it back on the ground. It came back again and again for at least 10-12 times. In the morning, I do yoga. It just followed me to yoga mat and wants to pick it up so that it can sleep on my hands. I don't know how I could explain the attachment. Some of its behavior are really funny. On Friday, after I left to college, my wife was taking care of it. She slept in the afternoon for sometime and found the bird to be sleeping. Then she made a omelet on frying pan (we always keep the door to the kitchen closed). When she came near to the bird, it was found to be gasping for air with its legs streched out. She couldn't do anything before it left us. It was so sudden. It didn't show any symptoms as it was eating, hopping, and flying in the morning when I left. I feel so devastated. I cried like a baby after a long time. Our intention was to only keep the bird until it was able to fly a little higher. I don't know how it collapsed. From the net, Teflon seems to be a cause, but it didn't show any symptoms of respiratory illness.

    It's memories will always stay with us. This was one of the situation where I wish I could go back into the past...

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this amazing story with us. As a general rule it is better not to intervene and let the adult birds feed the young. I hope that this has kindled a love for birds that will last all your life.