Sparrow Encounters of the Weird Kind

Chickadee-dee-dee

The short version:

The above photo should have been of a House Sparrow.

The long version:

Last week, I had a House Sparrow approach me in the backyard. I was walking towards the apple tree when I noticed it exploring the ground around the trunk. It also noticed me, checked me out a little, and then skipped a few steps in my direction. Surprised, I stopped moving. It looked at me quizzically and then took a few more skips towards me.

At that point, the dog ran up but the little bird stayed put. This made me wonder if there was something wrong with it. So, I sent the dog searching for my wife and the sparrow moved even closer towards me as he ran off. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the dog came racing back at full throttle, excited to report he had accomplished his mission and show he had earned any biscuits I might have stashed away in my pocket. Oddly, the sparrow didn’t spook and skipped a little closer yet. I told the dog to sit, which he did, and the little bird seemed okay with his presence until the dog noticed the bird – by then only about four feet away – and started to moan and tremble in excitement. That’s when the curious sparrow decided to fly away.

So, I quickly put the dog in the house, grabbed my camera, and raced back out to the apple tree with my iPhone. I played the House Sparrow call with iBird in the biophilian hope of calling the little fellow back. It didn’t work. Instead, three Chickadees landed in the apple tree to investigate all the noise I was making. I snapped a few photos of them – the one above being the best of the lot – while they lectured me extensively on the finer points of Chickadeeism. It’s an interesting philosophy worthy of one’s complete attention, but I couldn’t stop wondering what was going on in the mind of that sparrow.

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