Bird Circus

Finches and Sparrows

Did the rain do it? I’ve passed this spot dozens of times and I rarely saw much bird activity. But this morning minutes after sunrise the spot teemed with feathery business. In a few minutes I filmed four species, all within a few feet of each other. House finches were out in force, both females and males, assembling in the fennel tops and then pouncing on the mulch on the ground. No fewer than four Red-winged Blackbird males divided their time between issuing pointless mating calls from the summits — no females were in sight — and foraging on the ground, just like the finches and sparrows. White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows worked the territory together within inches of one another. Both use the method of scratching the ground to uncover possible hidden edibles, unlike the finches, which just peck without scratching. A California Towhee joined the crowds, scratching with both feet like the smaller sparrows. Did the rain create or uncover new riches? Or were the birds famished because the inclement weather of the previous day kept them from feeding?

White-crowned (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and Golden-crowned (Zonotrichia atricapilla) Sparrows

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