Holy birds

flock of sparrows

Photo credit: gargles

For the past three winters, an ungodly large host of sparrows has lodged in the pine trees behind our house. Sparrows don’t typically migrate, a factoid I learned when they moved into our neighborhood.

They follow the same ritual every day: leave around 8 a.m. and disperse into sub-hosts to forage (I would guess outside the city), return in small groups around 5 p.m., circle in total silence for about twenty minutes until all sub-hosts have joined the larger group, then land en-mass in the trees.

When all remaining straggler groups have made it home safely, all 3,000 of them start chirping with their closest neighbor. They’re not worried about keeping the rest of us up – the little rascals gaily chirp as if it were high noon all. night. long.

When I get my bike out from the garden before sunrise, they’re still chirping their little birdie hearts out. However, if I make a sudden noise like accidentally slamming the garden door, all 3,000 of them go silent instantaneously. It kinda creeps me out.

Anyway, it’s really something to see them gather each evening, and I wanted to share it with you (the last two minutes are when they finally land). For me, it’s just fascinating watching how similar patterns are in nature, in this case swarms of insects, schools of fish and flocks of birds.

Below my video is an even better video of the same thing, and you really should watch it. I also got carried away and posted a few other cool bird videos that will put a smile on your face.

Check out this host of sparrows. Amazing…nature is utterly beautiful.

Bird of Paradise attempting to impress a potential mate. I ask you: are men and women so different?

And then there’s Snowball, who has a particular taste for the Backstreet Boys:

This male Australian satin Bowerbird tries to impress a potential mate by decorating his love nest entirely in blue. Hopefully it’s her favourite colour.

Related posts: 

Nature’s amazing amazingness
Sit spot: a great way to take in nature
Permaculture principle 1: observe and interact
Nature brings me back to myself
Are we more like cells or reindeer?
Plants and people: let them be
Natural farming: less is more and the value of complexity


  1. Yep. The bird of paradise dance pretty much sums it up for 98% of us men. Sigh.

  2. Awesome! Thanks for leading me a bit further down the Path of Sparrows!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it, Peter! Would love to hear more about your Cuban permaculture animal/nature/people observations on your blog? 😉

  4. webpatser

    Collective consciousness is amazing. Learned so much about it during my beekeeping course 🙂

    More nice swarming video’s you can find here:


  5. That video is insane! I’ve always been fascinated by watching flocks of birds but it tends to be when I’m driving or something so I cant really focus on them. Their movement is definitely beautiful… and its so strange how they return to the same area every night and for the last three winters. I want to go google “collective consciousness” now 😉

    • You can take yourself pretty at down the rabbit hole with collective consciousness. I really recommend the field or the intention experiment if you read at all. They both blew my mind. I am happy you enjoyed the video Aussa! 🙂

  6. Wow! That must be quite a ruckus, but it would make my day to see them. Might drive my conure nuts though!

  7. Oh, this tickled me in all the right “bird-dork” places! I can’t identify many of them, but I love them, and get really happy when I see those swallow swarms over the highway on my drive home from work. And the Bird of Paradise display is just stellar. The female seems… a little nonplussed, though, am I right? 😉

    • Haha, I’m glad this post tickled your inner birdie! And yes, that female appeared to be quite unimpressed. 😉 They are fascinating creatures, to say the least!

  8. Pingback: Bird by Bird | evolution

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: