Camo – No Camo

This is a Song Sparrow. They are sweet, little birds that stick around all winter. In the summertime, true to their name, they sing…. let me rephrase that, THEY SING! But, in winter, unless I look very closely, I would completely miss them. Rather than visit the raised platform where I offer the seeds and nuts, the Song Sparrows hang out in the hedgerow grasses at the base of the feeder picking up tidbits which have fallen to the ground. On occasion, like yesterday afternoon, I am fortunate enough to, first, see them, and second actually focus through the sedge-brown grass to capture a clear image. Here are the untouched photos followed by the cropped section that contains the bird. Isn’t it incredible how well camouflaged they appear?

If you make a living finding food that is generally found on the ground, it only makes sense to be as invisible as possible. After all, there are all sorts of dangers. One of those is the domestic cat. While I was sitting in the golf cart filming the birds that were visiting the feeder, something caught my eye. It was the neighbor’s cat, slowly making its way towards my location. When he spotted me, he froze. Obviously, he wasn’t aware I was on his turf. Clearly he didn’t know it was actually mine. A quick, “Pssst!” and a hand gesture, and he skedaddled away. But, it unnerves me that he was on a trajectory to intersect the platform feeder and all the birds that visit it.

Back to the concept of camouflage. On the other side of the spectrum of “can you see me?” is the male Northern Cardinal. I suspect only female Cardinals know the true meaning of that brilliant crimson coat topped with the signature crest of head feathers. The lure of a mate must outweigh the detriment of being so obvious in a world full of animals that want to eat you.

Check out these photos I took yesterday of a male Cardinal. There’s no seeking cover in the branches of winter trees for this guy. In the second photo down there’s a House Sparrow perched to the right of the Cardinal that is easy to miss. But, not the brilliant red bird with his angular beak and headpiece.

A more moderate approach to sporting an attractive scarlet hue is seen on the male House Finch. From the back, he blends well into his surroundings. But, to make himself obvious to others of his species, he dons the reddish hue on his head and throat. I love these little birds and I filmed this one in three perspectives.

One Comment on “Camo – No Camo

  1. Hi Tammie, Yes Song Sparrows blend in well to the landscape, easier to evade the predators, Male Cardinals are known to be hit with depredation more than the females. Male Cardinals are bright red to attract the ladies, it is called sexual selection, that drove the plumage to be that bright.

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