2017—Not Exotic, Not Rare, Not New To Me
For the past year, I have traveled around the world and throughout the United States photographing birds. Many were exotic, a few were rare, and most species were new to me. One of the fascinating places I visited was Churchill on Hudson’s Bay in Manitoba Canada. Churchill’s Boreal climate gives it long, cold, harsh winters and brief, cool summers. Many bird species migrate long distances to breed in this subArctic region during the brief period of warmer weather before returning to more temperate climes. As I reviewed photographs from my June trip to Churchill, Canada I came a across a photograph I’d forgotten. I did not expect to find this rather mundane bird in my collection. It is a House Sparrow, known as an old world sparrow, a bird that is not native to North America. It hitched a ride to the new world from Europe in the middle of the 19th Century where it spread out across the continent and it is now common everywhere. I have seen them for years in my West Coast garden. As a non-native species, it is not protected by the Miratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and it is despised by many as invasive. But, there he was, in full breeding plumage, peering at me from a willow branch in Churchill, a male House Sparrow, neither exotic, rare, nor new to me.