True birders are always birding; even in their office parking lots. The office where I work has a covered area for management and executives...and several first-come-first-serve spaces for the early birds, like me. In those short seconds from the time I park my car until I enter the building, I am birding. Recently, I realized that all the birds I was seeing in the parking area were "exotics"; in other words, non-native species to Utah and many are introduced species to North America for that matter. Besides the American Robin and fly-over birds, I have yet to see another native species in this particular parking lot. Many of these non-native birds are nesting now and the level of activity and other side-effects has ramped up.
|The House Sparrow was introduced into New York in the early 1850's. (Read this interesting article debating how many Sparrows it took to start the millions we now "enjoy".) They, like the Rock Pigeon, have spread across much of North and South America and seem to thrive in urban settings, even inside airports, home improvement and grocery stores. I have found their nests in everything from store signage to rain gutters, from shrubbery to the roof trusses of a new home under construction. I'm not certain, but it seems to me that they may have several broods each year. Besides being brownish, House Sparrows are not at all closely related to the birds we know as sparrows in North America and are in a family of their own, the weaver finch.|
European Starlings came to America in the 1890's by Shakespeare enthusiasts who thought they were doing the right thing by introducing North America to all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works. Now they are super-abundant in North America. South America at least avoided their introduction and Starlings don't appear to have made too much head-way into Central America. Looking at eBird's global range maps, I find it interesting to see them in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where I assume they were introduced by similar Shakespeare-minded folks. These truly beautiful-in-their-own-way birds are loved-to-be-hated by birders and non-birders alike. They nest in any cavity available, be it tree, building, or even operating machinery.
|Some executives pathetic attempts at protecting their high-end automobiles from mountains of non-native bird poop.|
And last, but not least, this bird...
Peafowl are native to the region of India to Malaysia and have long been ornamental birds around the world. This is the only bird discussed here today that is not officially "countable" for those of us who like to count countables. They can and do establish feral populations, but most cannot sustain themselves without subsidies from mankind. The bird pictured above hung out in our parking lot for a couple of days last week and really was the trigger for this post.
Native or non-native, birds are around us almost everywhere. Why not enjoy them?!