January 19, 2007

Be kind to invasive species week

21 rock pigeon
22 European starling
23 house sparrow
(total on this date in 2006: 20)

During a week of little outdoor time, I didn't seek out my three least favorite birds but noticed them in obvious places: pigeons rising from the top of a Missouri River bridge, starlings perched on powerlines.

So what's not to like? In the starling's case, it isn't a dislike for Shakespeare but that his plays are not good reason for introducing a bird that takes nest cavities from native birds. Still, it's no fault of the starlings, who are currently thrilling Californians. In huge flocks, they are forces of nature.

I made zero effort to see house sparrows until the morning of my trip to Montana. I poked around the Columbia airport and found a few to complete the non-native bird trio. This sighting was a shame—on a layover later that morning at Kansas City, a male house sparrow that somehow entered the terminal landed on the carpet in front of me while I waited for my flight. It would have been my first and probably only indoor Little Big Year bird.


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