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Friday, July 31, 2015
 
 
About the Photographer

 

Marty Jones has been interested in bird photography ever since his first visit in 2004 to see the magnificent flocks of Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.  Marty enjoys the challenges and rewards of taking a good bird photograph and meeting other people who share an interest in birding and bird photography.

Marty is a Regulatory Compliance Consultant for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and lives near Terre Haute with his daughter Addison. Visit Marty L. Jone's Bird Photography Website. You'll see over 260 different Indiana bird species represented in the site including several rarities.

Bird of the Month Archives

Past Featured Birds of the Month

Tufted Titmouse, July 15, 2015

White-Throated Sparrow, July 14, 2015

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, July 13, 2015

Red-Winged Blackbird, July 12, 2015

Pine Siskin, July 11, 2015

Mourning Dove, July 10, 2015

Hairy Woodpecker, July 8, 2015

Eastern Bluebird, July 7, 2015

Downy Woodpecker, July 6, 2015

Dark-Eyed Junco, July 5, 2015 

Chipping Sparrow, July 4, 2015

Purple Finch, July 3, 2015

House Finch, July 2, 2015

Black-Capped and Carolina Chickadees, June 29, 2015

Baltimore Oriole, June 26, 2015

American Goldfinch, June 24, 2015

American Tree Sparrow, June 22, 2015

Bird of the Month? Week? Day?

Peregrine Falcon, June 2015

Chestnut-Sided Warbler, May 2015

Kirtland's Warbler, April 2015

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, March 2015

Pied-Billed Grebe, February 2015

Snow Bunting, January 2015

Northern Cardinal, December 2014

Winter Wren, November 2014

Northern Saw-Whet Owl, October 2014

American Bittern, September 2014

Chimney Swift, August 2014

Summer Tanager, July 2014

Canada Warbler, June 2014

Magnolia Warbler, May 2014

American Woodcock, April 2014

American Robin, March 2014

Great-horned Owl, October 2012

Bald Eagle, September, 2012

American Kestrel, June, 2012

American Robin, February, 2012

American Crow, January, 2012

Calliope Hummingbird, December, 2011

White-tailed Hawk, November, 2011

Long-tailed Jaeger, October, 2011

Warbling VIreo, August, 2011

Black-billed Cuckoo, June, 2011

Summer Tanager, May, 2011

Fox Sparrow, April, 2011

American White Pelican, March, 2011

Hooded Merganser, February, 2011

Backyard Birds of Indiana

Common Feeder Birds

Feeding backyard birds is often a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered what kind of bird is at your feeder? We're here to help! Thanks to the photographic efforts of Marty Jones, this page will help you learn the most common birds that visit our Indiana feeders.

Thanks for visiting and THANK YOU for feeding our feathered friends!

 Northern Cardinal  White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Dark-eyed Junko  Brown-headed Cowbird Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
 American Robin  Downie Woodpecker European Starling
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow

Bird of the Month

House Sparrow

by Alex Forsythe


The House Sparrow was introduced into North America by Europeans who wanted familiar birds from their homeland. The settlers also thought the birds might help to control insects that were damaging their grains. Instead, the birds rapidly proved themselves to be pests and killers of our native birds.

The first eight pairs of House Sparrows were shipped from England in 1850 and released in New York in the spring of 1851. Another one hundred sparrows were brought to the United States in 1852, and several other introductions followed. Several naturalists warned that the birds should not be introduced, but the majority of people disagreed and built nest boxes for them and fed them. By 1880 the public realized, much too late, that it was a mistake to introduce these birds. By 1900 they had spread to the Rocky Mountains. By 1910, they were well-established in California. It is now one of the world's most abundant songbirds and is on every continent except Antarctica.

Although the sparrows do eat insects while their nestlings are young, the rest of the year they feast on the very grains that they were supposed to protect. Worse, they are aggressive birds that have been known to attack 70 different bird species (Barrows 1889). The most frequent victim of the attacks are bluebirds. House Sparrows regularly kill the nestlings of Eastern Bluebirds, destroy the eggs, and often kill the female bluebird as she sits on the nest. Other common victims include Martins and Tree Swallows. House Sparrows begin nesting as early as late February, claiming the best nesting spots before our native birds begin searching for nest sites. They breed prolifically, with up to four broods per year.

By the early 1900's, people began to see the error of introducing the non-native House Sparrow, and they began to listen to the voices of ornithologists. Gene Stratton-Porter: "They are such unspeakable pests they are worthy of mention only to advise their extinction." Henry Van Dyke: "The kingdom of birds is divided into two departments - birds and House Sparrows. House Sparrows are not real birds - they are little beasts!" Birds of America: "The English Sparrow among birds, like the rat among mammals, is cunning, destructive and filthy." W. L. Dawson: "Without question the most deplorable event in the history of American ornithology was the introduction of the English Sparrow." By this time, of course, it was too late to eradicate them. Their numbers were simply too great. 

Despite their many unattractive qualities, House Sparrows do have some redeeming values. The most obvious value is in the area of scientific study. They are accustomed to nesting near humans, so they are more comfortable than most bird species in the company of scientists. This level of comfort allows researchers to study the birds without stressing them as much as other species. Over 5,000 documented studies have been conducted on these birds, with topics ranging from their ability to transmit diseases from poultry to wild birds, and their ability to rapidly adapt and evolve, to their use of grit in their diets, and their tolerance of salt. 

To control populations of House Sparrows in your area, the location and maintenance of nest boxes is important. They should not be placed near buildings. Any nesting materials placed in the nest box by House Sparrows should be removed once or twice a week. Cheap bird seed with fillers such as millet, milo and cracked corn should be avoided. 

With the exponential growth in population of House Sparrows in the United States, it is surprising that they are suffering a decline in their native home. House Sparrow have decreased by 62% in Europe in the past 30 years. Clever inventions like "bird bricks" are being developed to halt the decline. The bird bricks are hollow masonry nest boxes that can be placed in walls. To see one, go to http://www.wired.com/2013/07/these-bricks-are-made-for-birds-to-nest-in/

Common Indiana Birds

50 Most Common Backyard Birds of Indiana

1.   Eastern Bluebird 
2.   Indigo Bunting
3.   Northern Cardinal 
4.   Carolina Chickadee
5.   Black-Capped Chickadee
6.   Brown-Headed Cowbird
7.   American Crow
8.   Mourning Dove
9.   House Finch
10. Purple Finch
11. Northern Flicker
12. American Goldfinch
13. Common Grackle
14. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
15. Cooper’S Hawk
16. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
17. Blue Jay
18. Dark-Eyed Junco
19. Northern Mockingbird
20. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Barred Owl
24. Eastern Screech Owl
25. Great Horned Owl
26. Eastern Phoebe
27. American Robin
28. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
29. Pine Siskin
30. American Tree Sparrow
31. Chipping Sparrow
32. Fox Sparrow
33. House Sparrow
34. Song Sparrow
35. White-Crowned Sparrow
36. White-Throated Sparrow
37. Eupopean Starling
38. Brown Thrasher
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Eastern Towhee
41. Cedar Waxwing
42. Downey Woodpecker
43. Hairy Woodpecker
44. Pileated Woodpecker
45. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
46. Red-Headed Woodpecker
47. Carolina Wren
48. House Wren
49. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
50. Summer Tanager