Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Sparrows are Thankful For

Often I will look out my back yard and find flocks of sparrows in my yard.  These little birds are hard to see as they are camouflaged so well, but all the little hopping and darting motions among the grass alert me to their presence.  What attracts all these birds to the Red House?


Crabgrass.

I really hate crabgrass, but I also have a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards my backyard lawn.  Thus I have a fair amount of crabgrass and other weeds, to the delight of the sparrows and other wildlife. These offending plants that we try to get rid of are probably one of the things that the sparrows are most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday.

Can you see the camouflaged sparrow?
Another thing that I hate in my garden are sweet gum balls.  These spiky fruit fall into my yard from the sweet gum tree in the neighboring lot and are a mess to clean up.  I have nearly turned my ankle slipping on sweet gum balls.  And you surely don't want to go bare-foot anywhere around them.  But guess what else the little birds in my yard are thankful for?


The seeds in sweet gum balls a food source of goldfinches, white-throated sparrows, and many other birds and animals.


Today is Thanksgiving.  I have much to be thankful for - abundant food, clothes, shelter, a loving family.  I often take many of these basics for granted.  There are so many who would be so thankful to have these basic needs met, and I think it is important for us to help those who are in need.

This Thanksgiving holiday there are also many little things to help others around us that one might not even think to notice.  Many are hungry for kindness, a listening ear, someone to notice and care.  What someone nearby might be most thankful for could be a kind word, or the holding back of an angry one.  Or maybe going out of one's way to help do the jobs that nobody wants to do.  What might be a small, but challenging or even slightly unpleasant effort for you might be what someone could be most thankful for this holiday.

weed seeds
In the end, tolerating crabgrass and sweet gum balls in the garden is unpleasant, but they are what the sparrows appreciate the most.

15 comments:

  1. Who does love crabgrass. Well, thanks for telling me someone does. Now I shan't feel too badly when I find one gone to seed.

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  2. Thoughtful post. Be careful with the sweet gum balls. I turned my ankle on one years ago and I still have problems with it!

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  3. I didn't know sweet gum balls were so dangerous. They look interesting when on the trees.
    Thank you for this post, Indie!

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  4. I like it when the white-throated sparrows turn up. I didn't know that about finches and sweet gum balls. They look so decorative, yet are treacherous. When I volunteered at the botanical garden, we spent a lot of time in winter sweeping them from the paths.

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  5. Our backyard was alive with sparrows and other little birds on Thanksgiving morning, too. They were sitting in the miscanthus and bending the seedheads down to the ground. It looked like a whole lot of fun along with nourishment for them.

    Sweet gum balls sound delicious, but I take it they're not edible? They certainly look picky!

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  6. Lovely post! My kids love to collect the sweet gum balls and we use them for crafts, especially around Christmas time...we spray paint them gold and silver, roll them in glitter. They are so pretty! Of course even after all our crafts there are still plenty in the garden for the birds.

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  7. I have a sweet gum (just called Liquidamber here)and I love the seed capsules! As Karin said, they make good crafts for kids and also look nice as a mulch on the garden bed under the tree. I find fallen apples much more treacherous!

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  8. dear Indie, the blue tits have come to my bird feeders !

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  9. Lovely post which was not so much to do with crabgrass or sweet gum balls. The broader picture gives me much more food for thought, thank you.

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  10. When I started to comment, I noticed Alistair's comment above. This is exactly what I wanted to say! By the way, when I was in Taiwan I met a native of that country who was making the most beautiful ornaments using sweet gum balls. She gave one to me, and now I treasure it.

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  11. makes me feel better seeing the crabgrass in my yard, but I guess one has to let it go to seed. (and I try to avoid this by mowing ;-) )

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  12. Sparrows are alas, on the wane round here.

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  13. Good perspective! We have tons of sparrows and I did not know they dine on crabgrass seeds.

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