A Host of Sparrows

A few years ago I was driving down 8th Street East at the eastern edge of Sonoma when I saw a fellow setting up a roadside birdhouse stand. Lined up along the back of his open bed truck were small birdhouses, primitively made and multi-hued. He’d set up a card table next to the truck with a few more houses on display. His lawn chair awaited him next to the truck.

I drove past, found the next place to turn around, and headed back to check out the birdhouses. Five of them went home with me – two pale blue, one deep lavender, a rusty red and a minty green. We put them up at Dog Camp – along the breezeway, in the back garden and in one of the play yard redwood trees.

Now, years later – ten I think – Dog Camp is aflutter with sparrows. We have at least 5 new families every season. They line their nests with dog hair shed in the play yard, the fledglings learn to fly using our climbing roses and redwoods as perches, and the fountain in the back garden is a popular stop for a sip and a bath. In return for the habitat and houses we provide, the sparrows give us their songs morning and night and eat their fair share of mosquitos and other bugs we’d prefer not to have around. A more than fair trade.

So, if you’re driving down 8th Street East some day and see a beat up old truck with birdhouses on it, do a good thing for yourself and pull over.

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