Chain Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow juvenile (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

This young White-crowned Sparrow looks like a prisoner peering out through the bars of its cage. Not to worry. The “cage” is a chainlink fence seen from a sharp angle, and the bird has plenty of room. Several of them used the chainlink gaps as a perch when passing between the north and south sides of this boundary structure between the dog park and the Nature Area on the north side of the park.

Chain link fences can be a lifesaver for small birds. If a deadly raptor like a Cooper’s Hawk pursues them, the birds need only slip through a link in the fence. These raptors don’t hesitate to plunge at speed into heavy foliage and twigs in pursuit of prey, but the chain link fence will not yield to them, and they may end up on the ground with broken bones.

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