The gable end wall of our house is very old thick stone, and full of holes. Some are deep enough for sparrows to nest in, which they do every year. Mrs RH is quite keen to fill the holes; I enjoy the annual sparrow nesting routines in the holes, and in the gaps under the gable eaves. Last year I recorded the sounds emerging from the largest hole as the chicks grew. This year, I tried photography. The problems, without special equipment, were lighting and focus. I wasted a vast number of shots on useless photos before realising that I only had to wait until the evening sun was full on the wall. Here are some resulting photos. A few days later, they had flown!

Apart from the noise of the chicks awaiting food, nothing much to see here…Sparrow Nest Totnell 1

Half an hour later the sun has helpfully moved roundSparrow Nest Totnell 2 Sparrow Nest Totnell 3 Sparrow Nest Totnell 5

The ‘money shot’!Sparrow Nest Totnell 7Sparrow Nest Totnell 8


  1. I guess sunlight is almost always the best light… Before I realised I need only wait a short time, I had tried various ruses to get light onto the hole – including a torch held in my teeth (fail!).


  2. Great shots! I can see the points of view of both you and your wife on this RH… we have a large family of sparrows which nest in the eaves of the house which backs on to our garden. They are always in our garden on the feeders/in the tree/in the pond and I love their squabbling antics, but blimey they are messy – the wall below their nest is thoroughly spattered with guano – and I’m kind of relieved it’s not our eaves they’re nesting in. They’re amazingly noisy and tuneless too – especially at 4:30am when they congregate in the tree outside our open window to cheep a welcome to the rising sun. Gotta love ’em though! 😀


    1. Ew, sorry. Got a bit e-behind with my e-replies. I do feel guano spattering is quite beyond the pale, especially emanating from the neighbours. Luckily the nest pictured is 5 foot off the ground, and they can’t do much damage from there. But put if they do put guano on our wall I swear I’ll do time (cf Private Eye). [Actually the chicks have flown and the nest awaits its second round in July-ish] RH


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