About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Photo Share: Bird with no tail

Dolly (cat) loves to watch the front bush for House Sparrows outside the Wild Birds Unlimited store in East Lansing, MI. There is a lot of drama involved. House Sparrows in fall/winter flocks have a definite pecking order. You can begin to decipher the standings by paying attention to the black throats of the males. The bigger the black badge under the throat, the more a dominant a bird tends to be. By November, some older sparrows have already established tentative bonds with multiple mates.

Dolly and I were watching one male that lost his tail. There are hawks, neighborhood cats, cars, and other dangers living in the busy city. It's a mystery how the tail of this guy was taken. We noticed him because of his wobbly entrance to where we scattered some seed. Tail flight feathers give stability and control. They are used as a rudder, helping to steer and balance the bird and allow the bird to twist and turn in flight. These feathers also act as a brake for landing.

This male sparrow must have lost his tail a few days ago because I see some small white feathers growing in as replacements. Sometimes quick replacement feathers might come in white. Although they may not be as strong as the originals, they can still help steer his flight.

We watched him skid in to a stop to eat seeds in front of the door and then take a bath. Not having a tail didn't stop the surrounding girls watch him bathe and then follow him as he showed them potential nesting sites behind the Goodwill sign.

Related Articles:
- Why should we care about birds? http://goo.gl/4iD8a
- How to get rid of sparrows http://goo.gl/9tAwkY
- House Sparrows in Michigan https://house-sparrows-in-michigan.html
- Book Recommendations for Michigan Birdwatchers http://bit.ly/x5t2gv
- Most common winter birds in Michigan http://bit.ly/ywWdfL

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