Well the Hodgson’s Textured Pipits had a very mixed reception so today I shall offer you one for the road without any tinkering whatsoever. It is as simple as you can get. A humble sparrow. The Tree Sparrow in fact, Passer Montanus.
In my 1969 copy of The Observer’s Book of Birds (priced at a very reasonable 7/-) it says ‘avoids the dwellings of man’. Well of course that is certainly not true in Hong Kong where it is as much an urban as it is a rural bird. I find it mildly amusing that the publisher did not think it necessary to say “British Birds”. I suspect it was assumed that as the world centred around Britain and there were still plenty of pink bits on the map that it was completely unnecessary to state the obvious. The first edition was published in 1937, before I was born and the empire began to crumble. Its age is also betrayed by the word ‘dwellings’. Not too many dwellings around nowadays. How lovely is your dwelling place….. Psalm 84, is perhaps still in vogue (Rod?) but if I go to the real estate agent and ask for a list of dwelling places on the market I think they might mistake me for a sparrow-brain. Finally, the sparrow was clearly so boring that TOBoB only illustrated it with a black and white photo. Scandalous. Here is a bird screaming out for colour. And here it is:
I shall be looking out for sparrows in Dubai. The Tree Sparrow is most unlikely but the House Sparrow should be on parade. In fact I may well ask the concierge at the hotel if I can have one delivered to my room. As we all know, in
Dubai Disneyland everything is possible and all our wishes can come true.