Friday, February 25, 2011
English sparrows in my maple tree
The story of these sparrows is actually interesting. When I bought this old church that had been converted into a ski chalet for a family of five, ten years ago, there was a group of English sparrows living in the mugo pine outside the north west window.
There were about a dozen. They were very noisy and cheerful and lived here year round.
Now there are nearly twice as many, and they still spend much of their day in the pine or in the juniper bush underneath the big maple where they are sitting, whatever the weather. It amazes me. They flit from juniper to maple to pine back and forth whenever I or one of the dogs comes near. They scold us and chatter to themselves about how their routine has been disrupted by the interlopers in the house.
Now you all know about Bliss - my yellow Lab who just loves to chase anything. Well he and these sparrows have developed quite a game. He barks, they fly to the next tree, he chases and barks again, they fly back, he runs back and barks... on and on. Very silly, but he spends a lot of his ADD energy that way... which is a good thing, keeps him slim.
My neighbour and the former owner of this place calls them weaver finches, which is their "old world" name - the birds, not the dog. They were brought to North America in cages as were many finches in the late 1700 and 1800s. Like other more exotic birds that people have in cages in their homes today, weaver finches were popular because they were so cheerful I guess.
Of course some escaped - and so we have them all over the continent as far as I know now. They have thrived.
But one of the other reasons for showing you these little brown and white birds (I wish my camera worked as well as my friend Steve Creek's does - if you want to see great shots of backyard birds go to his website Steve Creek Outdoors - amazing) - anyway one of the reasons is to show you that the maple buds are fat and getting ready to pop. Spring!!! signs of it anyway. It means that the maple sap is running... well it doesn't run it pulses, but still... this weekend I'm going to see if there is someone around here tapping trees and boiling off the sap. That would make a great story for the blog!
I love maple syrup.
Hope you have a sweet treat to look forward to this weekend like I'm hoping to find.