Conventional Wisdom



Sparrows are boring little insignificant birds.  How much more exciting to see blue jays, cardinals, finches.  And yet, there was something exciting about seeing a flock of city sparrows, noisy and vulgar, settling in a little lilac bush in my back yard.  They approached cautiously, flying into the twigs and branches of a vine draped over a framework set closer to my backdoor..  “Wow!  Look at that!  Quick, get some bread”, said my houseguest.  He seemed so enthusiastic about these banal little creatures.  As I fumbled around, looking for stale bread and grumbling about inadvertently feeding squirrels, he blithely tore up butter croissants and flung them out of the back door.  These little birds smell quality.  They descended en masse and pecked enthusiastically.  They were noisy and skittish.  As soon as we approached the window of the back door, they rose up as a united flock and settled in the vine again. Little by little they discovered that we were not going to catch them or shoo them away and that they were free to feed under our noses.  Suddenly I noticed one sparrow who was different.  He was an albino, not quite white but certainly very pale beige.  He stood out from the others and yet they seemed oblivious.  He took his place among the others and they never turned a hair, I mean a feather!  They were interesting in their flight patterns, swooping down and then retreating.  After about fifteen minutes they suddenly flew right out of the garden.  We were disappointed but I suppose there is a limit to the amount of starch these tiny birds can consume at one sitting.  Much more and they would have struggled to take off! I wonder if we will ever see the strange pale little bird again. Wonderful how, with a little attention, the most ordinary city sight can become interesting and pleasurable.

One thought on “Conventional Wisdom

  1. I think the beige one is the male. At one time in India there was no shortage of sparrows. That is until the use of fertilizers. Than we did not see many. On my last trip, noted a slight comeback. Joy of spending time with the old man. He used to feed the birds every morning. The doves would eat out of his hand.


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