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house sparrow


Friday 29th March 2002, West Yorkshire

sparrows in the hedgesparrow A pair of house sparrows gathers nesting material from the herb bed. While the male collects a wisp of dried leaf the female is intent on nipping off a seed-head from the dried up stems of the marjoram. They fly off, probably heading for the nest at the corner of the house.

Minutes later they're back. After eyeing up the possibilities, the female snips off another seed-head, like a flower arranger doing her rounds with the secateurs.

She returns yet again, alone this time. By now the male seems to have lost interest in home furnishings. This time she's even more picky, hopping around on the stone edging of the herb bed, reaching for stems then rejecting them.sparrow with marjoram seed-headsEventually she settles for two of the smaller seed-heads, carrying them back to the nest with them sticking out one on either side of her beak, like a flamenco dancer with two roses between her teeth.

She seems to have started a fashion; next time I look four female sparrows are hopping about amongst the page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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