House Sparrow Resourcefulness

Can you see the house sparrow in this photo?


The golden eagle above looks like she doesn't have any feet. She's actually sitting on her mailbox perch behind her pedestal perch. Do you see the house sparrow yet? It's camouflaged in the pea gravel in front of the pedestal perch. A pair of house sparrows have taken to scavenging in the mew of our education golden eagle at The Raptor Center. It started with a male and now a female joins him. I've seen them quietly lurk in some of the great horned owl mews as well. They behave in such a different way when foraging for food near the raptors than when I see sparrows visit the feeder. A few muted chirps will be given right before they land inside but once there, they keep a cautious distance from the birds of prey and keep silent as they feed on leftover rat bits. The sparrows seem to have a sense that these are larger and dangerous critters near this valuable protein source. This is a true testament to how resourceful house sparrows are and shows their uncanny knack for finding a good food source.


The golden eagle watches with some interest as this male house sparrow searches for meat scraps on her pedestal perch (we know for sure our education golden eagle is female--she lays infertile eggs in spring). It's unlikely that she will ever go after the sparrows, though even with a broken wing and being blind in one eye she is still able to nab the occasional small squirrel or young rabbit that foolishly find their way into the education courtyard. Sparrows are small and fast and the effort it would take for a golden eagle to grab one would not be worth the small meal reward she would get.