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In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


Since I took our feeders down due to the Salmonellosis outbreak in western Washington and even the suet feeder has gone empty, I’ve learned who my bird friends truly are – so to speak. The Sparrows. Over the last three years I’ve added a lot of native plants to our yard and thanks to this effort, even when the feeders run empty, the yard still attracts birds. Even this time of the year. Since the autumn I’ve seen a steady rate of sparrow visitors eating seeds from the Goldenrod, Aster and Fireweed. Not just a single species, but I’ve seen five different sparrow species in our yard. The House Sparrow mostly stays next-door where it feeds from the food left out for the chickens, but occasionally they’ll visit the feeders or sunbath on the fence. The Song Sparrow visits more regularly, but usually only one or two at a time. The Golden-crowned Sparrows are much more regular and come in larger numbers. They’re the most common visitor to the seed producing plants.  The White-crowned Sparrows mostly stick to the front yard and visit the ground under the feeders, foraging for dropped sunflower seeds. While I’ve rarely seen it, once in awhile I’ll have a Fox Sparrow in the backyard, but I haven’t seen one recently.

Today it’s dark, dreary and rainy and the birds are much less active. It’s hard to take photos on days like this, but above you’ll see a few shots I managed to get of our feathered guests.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction. Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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