New Species – Yellow-Crowned Sparrows?

Not quite!

A funny visitor to Treasurer Susan's garden this summer caused a few raised eyebrows. Take a look at the photo to the right showing the young sparrow feeding from the garden feeder with a bright yellow crown. An unusual sight.

After a little investigation and help from others, we worked it out to be a normal young sparrow that had recently been feeding on New Zealand Flax. These strange coloured birds (not exclusively sparrows) had shown up in a few places, and the answer seemed to simply be that the pollen of the flax had been transferred to the birds heads while they were feeding. This particular flax uses birds, rather than insects, to pollinate.

A little searching later found that a garden close by had this New Zealand Flax growing, so now it shouldn't be a surprise if these funny coloured birds pop by again.


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