The House Sparrow

Shortly after my third birthday, in 1961, my family moved house.  The new house had a large concrete porch with a low wall, and in the winter my mother would put out stale bread on that wall.  Birds appeared, mostly house sparrows, and I watched them from the dining room window.

Those house sparrows are the first birds I learned to name, and because my mother put out food for them, I learned that birds were something to be valued.  My mother, of course, had no idea that she had given me a tiny push towards the road that has, largely, defined my life, a road that has taken me to seven continents in pursuit of birds.

I’m not a competitive birder; I know what my life list is, more or less, but that’s not what I care about.  I’m not famous, or even well known in birding circles, and there are many many people in this world that have seen more birds than I, been to places I haven’t.

This blog will be partly memoir, partly a study of my birding ‘patches’, one in southern Ontario, one in England, partly a discussion of other people’s thoughts about nature, birding, and conservation.   It is not a blog about what’s seen where, when, and how to get there. Nor is it a photo blog: I don’t take pictures, except the occasional record shot.   I do create art, in words and in pictures, and that will be included, occasionally.

I’m also not promising regular posts – for one thing, it’s almost May, prime migration season here in southern Ontario.  The warblers are already moving in.   But when time allows, I’ll write – about what I saw today, or thirty years ago, or about the feel of a Texas dawn with sandhill cranes bugling high above in the lightening sky.  Or the smell of an Adele penguin colony on the Antarctic peninsula, or the pure joy when I saw, earlier this year, the gyrfalcon I had waited nearly forty years to find.  I hope you’ll enjoy what I write here; please comment and share your stories.





3 thoughts on “The House Sparrow

  1. Dear Marian – you write well and with feeling for nature. I could never get a handle on identifying the warblers in Ontario with their changing plumage.
    Regards – Patrick.


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