Spadgers and spuggies

House sparrow ♂ © Amy Lewis

Every morning the sound of chirping melts across the front garden as the birds wake up and search for an early feast to start the day off.

 I have bird feeders and a bird table, set close to a hedge. The tree spadgers jostle for a prime spot with the house spuggies, waiting for the feeders to be filled with seed and the bird bath to be topped up with water.

If you're still wondering spuggy and spadger are alternative names for our sparrows. The house sparrow frequents our gutters and roof tiles, with nests of grass, leaves and feathers tucked under the eaves. Its smaller cousin, the tree sparrow, searches for holes in trees, with alternative accommodation of a nest box eagerly used.

House sparrow ♀ © Amy Lewis

House sparrow ♀ © Amy Lewis

Both are less numerous now than yesteryear, but the tree sparrow still has a stronghold on the Wolds of East Yorkshire, often more common than the house sparrow. Its chocolate brown crown, white cheeks adorned with a splodge of black, all neat and trim are easily spotted once you know what to look for.

My spuggies and spadgers are gregarious but fierce and squabbles often break out with a feathery ball of noise crashing into the hedge bottom as differences are aired. Soon a calm returns and with it the sound of chattering and chirping returns; food and water are more important than a constant fight with the neighbours.  

I sit in the shade and watch the feeders slowly empty over the course of the day, the whole exercise to be repeated tomorrow with my early chirping alarm call signalling the start.