For all of you birders out there, I have a question: can you identify this bird? From its behavior, I think it was quite young - there were two that flushed up from the grass quite close to me, then flew onto the barbed wire fence nearby. By the time I had gotten over my surprise and thought to take a photo, one of the two had flown off, but this one remained and let me take two photos before flying off to join its companion.
The fence is at the back of our property, with our 5 acre (restoring) prairie on one side and a wheat field, newly harvested, on the other side. Both birds flushed from our side of the fence.
With the large eye in proportion to the head, the relatively flat head, the white eye ring, the white stripe through the center of the crown (which you can't see in my 2 photos), the pink legs and the mainly pink beak, and the relatively unmarked face, I'm wondering about a young grasshopper sparrow. Thoughts, anyone?
First it was bugs in jars. Then it was toad races in the sand box. Next, I obsessed over seashells and all the animals living in tidal pools and along the shore. Finally I went to college and studied biology, accidentally becoming a birder and amateur entomologist along the way. Raising a family gave me the impetus to start gardening. Now, many years later, I have come full circle back to bugs, though rarely do I catch them in jars any more.
The more I learn, the more fascinated I become with the intricate web of biological connections surrounding us every day. Wasps that lay their eggs on paralyzed grasshoppers. Mosquitoes that prey on other mosquito larvae. Flea beetles that will only consume plant material from one genus of plants. What I can observe and learn in my own backyard is staggering.
By caring for that yard organically, the small world that I provide for a huge variety of creatures is enlightening, enlivening, and enriching.
How can anyone ever get bored?!