Saturday, March 22, 2008

Exotic Visitors

Sitting on our tiny front porch yesterday afternoon, Deanne noticed a tiny brown bird with large beak and scaly-patterned breast among the Chipping Sparrows and House Finches in our mulberry tree. A quick search through the Sibley guide revealed that the bird was an adult Nutmeg Mannikin. A moment later, it was joined by a juvenile and we were able to watch both parent and offspring for several minutes.

The Nutmeg Mannikin (aka Munia or Spice Finch) is an exotic bird that has become established in the wild for many years in California and Florida and more recently in the Houston area. I have seen reports of Mannikins from Kleb Woods, which is 10 miles northwest of us, but I certainly didn't expect to see any in our yard. It will be interesting to see whether the individuals we saw decide to take up residence in our area.

The Mannikins were back later this morning and I managed to grab a quick photo of the adult.


Birdwoman said...

Excellent! You DID get a picture. It's interesting to know that these birds seem to be moving about in the area. Expanding their range? I know I'm going to give a little closer look to all those little brown birds in my yard that I just automatically assume are House Sparrows.

Jeff Mohamed, said...

We now have three Mannikins - and I got a slightly better photo of two of them.