A Quarrel Of Sparrows

Stealth bombers dominate our front garden feeders.

Silently they crowd the seed provider, with a

considerable amount of spillage

cleared up by robin Ron for whom this particular container was provided,

and larger birds like blackbirds

and woodpigeons.

The voracious field sparrows dart onto any vacant perch. They engage in fearsome face-offs. Spreading or violently flapping their wings and viciously pecking they dive-bomb their rivals to take their places at the trough.

It is hardly surprising that a collective noun for sparrows is a quarrel.

This afternoon Jackie went into the garden in search of Nugget, who she photographed as he cocked his head awry.

“Where’s Nugget?” (60)

She thinks the solitary crow on our rooftop is Russell, whoΒ latched onto her in its infancy in June 2018.

She also photographed

an iris,

the Weeping Birch,

a vinca,

an owl on the stumpery,

an osteospermum,


heuchera leaves,

and emerging snowdrops.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and mushroom pie; creamy potato and swede mash; firm carrots and Brussels sprouts; tender cabbage; and thick, tasty, gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Garnacha Syrah.



  1. That’s the perfect owl for the stumpery. He looks a little perturbed doesn’t he – I wonder if it is because of the quarrelsome sparrows. I didn’t know the collective noun was ‘a quarrel’. I think our sparrows are somewhat more amenable. they wait patiently on the fence for a place to become vacant and there seems to be some kind of numbering system as they all seem to get a turn eventually. The only time things get fraught is when a larger bird turns up, One day a magpie appeared from heavens knows where and seemed prepared to watch and wait but the sparrows scattered. If I was a sparrow I would have disappeared too. Compared to them a magpie is enormous! Nugget looks like he ruffed himself up beautifully for his photo op. Such a star!! <3 It's a bit hard for him to hide though when there is a lack of foliage πŸ™‚ Wouldn't it be wonderful if the solitary crow turned out to be Jackie's affectionate youngster. Exciting times – there could yet be a friendly feathered menagerie residing at the Old Post House.

  2. I loved seeing your quarrel of sparrows. I had to remove our seed feeders in favour of peanuts. The spillage of seeds brought the rats.
    I miss seeing the bigger birds in the garden, although still get the pleasure of the little ones. I’m glad Nugget is still around.

      1. I’m sure they will do a good job for you. Here on the farm we will never be clear despite our best attempts, it’s the countryside and I suppose they belong here too!

  3. I also didn’t know the collective noun for sparrows was quarrel. Ours don’t seem particularly quarrelsome. I enjoyed your avian photo essay–and the owl was a perfect addition! He looks startled.

  4. Always a pleasure to visit the treasures in your yard, Derrick. Today’s a day to celebrate birds. Lots of other bloggers seem to be focusing on them today, too. Nugget still is my favorite, though. I hope those bigger birds don’t chase Nugget away!

  5. I like a “quarrel” of sparrows. Whoever came up with that must have seen a similar sight to that of your pictures. I totally forgot about Russell the crow. Jackie has some kind of magic for attracting birds. I would love to know what makes her think it is Russell.

    We are having a bit of snow today, but a cooking roast is warming the house and I have your pictures of emerging greenery to cheer me.

  6. The first iris! Your weather seems milder and ahead of ours, Derrick. I love Russel Crow(e) and how he printed on Jackie. She is a true “bird whisperer”.

  7. Such an active avian population in your garden must provide an endless source of entertainment, Derrick.
    Little Nugget is plainly visible in the left part of the photo next to the black pole (pipe?),

  8. Glad to meet the quarrel of sparrows, Mr Russel Crow, yet another owl, and our dear friend Nugget, peeking through the stalks. The portrait of the weeping birch is brilliant.

  9. Looks like a fowl day…flora, too…Ha…which means it was a fine-feathered-friends and flowers day! YAY! πŸ™‚

    All of the photos are lovely!
    The owl on the stumpery is a new fav of your photos! ? I love it!

    OH! How wonderful that Russell Crow has returned to visit his Mom! πŸ™‚ I remember him!!! πŸ™‚

    Good to see Nugget looking so healthy and happy! πŸ™‚
    A Flock of HUGS!!!
    ? ? ? ? ?

  10. It’s always fascinating watching garden birds busy at their work on the feeding stations – the pecking order, the quarrels, the opportunists. I loved Jackie’s iris photo too.

  11. In the Middle Ages, the commoner birds had some (extremely original) names. All House Sparrows were called Phillip, the song thrush was Mavis. The jackdaw came from Jack the Daw, but he could also be Marjorie Daw. Magpie was short for Margaret Pied (bird).
    I can’t think of any more but I’m treaty sure that Russell the Crow is a no-no.
    The next stage after that is when you think that the birds are actually talking to you. I took the bird food out on Friday morning after bit of a lie in, and I was sure that our robin said very loudly to me, “You’re late !!,You’re late !!, “

  12. I’m glad to see that Nugget is around, despite him being outnumbered by other birds. And tell Jackie that the crow just might be Russell. They have proven that crows recognize and remember human faces.

  13. While I know there are people who don’t, I love sparrows. And I’m thankful that they are don’t have the same status here as they have in America, where they are regarded as a pest.

    So, you also had a crow called Russell? Snap! (Ours – a girl – had two offspring, called Velcrow and Esscrow.)

  14. Beautiful images and we get through a huge amount of seeds, suet and fat balls, and yes the spillage is great, but then the pigeons and blackbirds benefit not to mention the mice we have seen at odd times early morning..
    Wonderful photos Derrick.. Have a restful afternoon my friend..
    πŸ™‚ Sue

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