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House Sparrows in mortal combat

It’s often said that you don’t need to venture far from home to photograph interesting wildlife and this story is a case in point. Returning from a long day shooting out in the forest I was walking up my garden path when I noticed an almighty tussle occuring between two small birds just a few feet from the house.

House Sparrows fighting

These were two male House Sparrows, of which we have a healthy resident population, clearly deciding this territory wasn’t big enough for the both of them! Their behaviour was the most violent I’ve ever seen from garden birds, they were hurling each other back and forth on the ground, using beaks and claws in a frenzy and completely oblivious to my approach and presence just a few feet away.

House Sparrows fighting

The bird on the left of the image started to get the better of his counterpart, forcing him down onto his back.

House Sparrows fighting

The fight continued for several minutes as I lay down on the ground and snapped away.Even with one bird prone on the ground, the dominant male continued to drive home attacks with his beak, using his wings to create extra downforce and keep his victim pinned down.

House Sparrows fighting

I’m glad to say that both birds survived the fight and flew away, but don’t be fooled into thinking that your small garden birds are always gentle souls, they’ve got a temper when it comes to territory!

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Posted in: The New Forest

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