10 July 2010

Dunnock (hedge sparrow)

Clearly, this one had been finding plenty to eat

The bird people get wild when others call these "hedge sparrows" (they're not closely related to the true sparrows but belong to the Accentors), but I grew up with that name and "dunnock" still sounds strange and unappealing (perhaps it reminds me too much of "dunny"?). The Latin binomial, Prunella modularis, hardly seems better — to me it sounds prim and disapproving, whereas I find them delightful little birds. This one was a resident at the house we rented in Christchurch during a brief visit in 2005.

[1 January 2005; Canon 20D, 300 mm f4 L, ISO 800, 1/320 at f4]

All content © 2010 Pete McGregor


Relatively Retiring said...

My garden is heavily populated by these charming little birds and their offspring. They have a fascinating sex/family life, which I'm sure you know all about.

LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) is a useful name, although Prunella is nice for the girls, but the 'B' must not be interpreted as 'boring'.

Zhoen said...

Nearly spherical little chap.

pohanginapete said...

RR, my mum loved them too, and I suspect they endear themselves to a substantial proportion of the people who pay attention to their gardens.

Aptly put, Zhoen :^D

Lesley said...

We have a pair in our garden. I love watching them searching for their breakfast while I eat mine. I mostly notice them in winter and spring.

What lovely detail in this photograph. Was it a cold morning? The feathers look more ruffled than usual.

pohanginapete said...

Lesley, I'm not sure why the feathers were more ruffled than usual (I agree — they're usually much sleeker). Perhaps it had just had a bath, or perhaps I photographed it just after it had shaken itself? I wouldn't have thought New Year's day would have been particularly cold, but it was New Zealand, and it was Christchurch, so who knows? ;^)