Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bladder Campion (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) SOLD!

16 June finds me, back at home for a week or so, sitting on the grass beside our rural mailbox in Bishops Mills to admire one of my favorite roadside flowers, Bladder Campion, growing among the Red Clover.  I like the Campion's misty, pink and green tinted balloons with their lively white asterisks of petals.

As usual, bird sound carries on around me, especially the insistent "cheep, cheep, cheep" of the House Sparrow fledgelings, who are out of the nest now.  They follow their parents about, begging noisily.  One would think that this makes them an easy target for predators such as cats, but apparently the survival of little sparrows is better if they shout for food than if they hide and stay quiet, even if some of them may get picked off by cats.  Perhaps the parent gives them a warning signal to be quiet if a cat is seen.  There are not many cats loose in Bishops Mills this year, so I suppose all of the birds are doing better.

Sparrows in particular seem to be more abundant, and we haven't noticed any House Finches for a few years.  There was a time about 10 years ago, that I'd see House Finches were all over the village, and House Sparrows only on city streets and parking lots.  House Sparrows were introduced to Brooklyn, New York in 1851, and on a couple of other occasions further west.  Soon their clever adaptability made them successful in both city and village all over North America.  The House Finch, however, is a more recent introduction, having been brought to the eastern US from the American southwest in 1940, and it seemed to be even more successful than the House Sparrow at scavenging around people and finding nest sites in buildings.  Fred tells me that conjunctivitis and viral pox infections that the House Finch is particularly susceptible to, may be the cause of their decline in numbers - giving the House Sparrow a chance to increase its population.

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