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By Joseph Dempsey thebird

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some things, even to those imbued with a bizarre imagination, never occur as a viable possibility. Who'da thunk I would happen across a House Sparrow nest comfortably nestled in a big 0? Not me. To the sparrow family, it looked like home sweet home.

The "o" is in "STAPLES The Office Super Store." The store is on East Harding Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Do not go looking for the nest if you are in the neighborhood. The picture was shot on July 19, 2003. Mr. and Mrs. Sparrow no longer occupy this avian domicile.

Mr. Sparrow, identified by his dark beard, is perched on the "t," standing guard at his castle door. Mrs. Sparrow is deep inside the nest, brooding the next generation of the sparrow family. Each time the incorrigible wench popped her head up, the lens was pointed somewhere else, so you'll just have to trust me on this.

House (or English) Sparrows are generally regarded as pests and, like Starlings, are not protected by wildlife laws. Regarded by many experts today as the most prevalent bird in the nation, the lack of protection has done little to impede their survival and proliferation. Someone must have forgotten to tell the fruitful little critters they had no protection. Some varmints don't need a law to survive. Their genetic code overrides legislative meanderings.

The birds were introduced into several areas of the USA between 1850 and 1875 to combat some pesky caterpillars, larva of the Geometrid Moth. Seems the moths were gobbling up tree leaves with the efficiency of a turbo-charged harvesting machine. By 1883, those who were responsible for introducing the feathered menace realized the folly of their decision.

It's not like they weren't forewarned. Bird experts accurately predicted at the time that the idea was a disaster in the making — good advice that was summarily rejected. Some things never change.

These little boogers underscore a snippet popularized by a seventies Chiffon margarine commercial, "It's not nice to fool mother nature." In later years, the adage has been transliterated to "Don't mess with Mother Nature." Either way, there is more truth than poetry to the observation.

N O T E S:  
Nikon D100 / Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 D / Post processed
with Photoshop CS3 Extended and Genuine Fractals Print Pro

Click the jump wings
to see the previous Photo of the Week. . . .

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