Location: southern of 2 ponds in the Bosque between Tingley Beach/jogging/biking trail and the Rio Grande. I was in the covered viewing porch on east side of pond when I saw this little bird and took several pictures of it. It was about the size of a weaver finch (sparrow). I don't recall it making any noise. It was comfortable in the reeds and brush there. I thought might be a wren but the beak is more seed eater. It could be a female, it could be mid molt, gaining a new set of spring feathers. It reminded me of a female redwing blackbird but it was only half the size of an adult RWBB. If you know what it was, let me know

The northern pond has an island in the middle. Last fall I saw a kingfisher there (I was on the shore west of the island). Now I see that bird houses have been constructed, at least three, like the picture. The holes were large enough for robins (but too small for, say, wood ducks), but I'm sure they are meant for some other bird but what kind I don't know. It will be interesting to observe what birds take up residence there, some bird that likes water and doesn't mind others of its kind nearby. Why there are squirrel barriers under the houses is unknown since a squirrel would have to swim over to get to the nesting boxes. Maybe some other predator? Snakes? Note ducks in water; Sandias in background.

If you haven't yet visited this area of the Bosque, there are plenty of trails and the water birds probably find it less hectic than Tingley Beach. Also in the spring and summer, many more birds visit that area, too. I got some great pictures of a blue grosbeak enjoying eating cat tails last summer. Even beaver dens and beaver activity are obvious, though I haven't seen one. Lots of huge turtles are out on logs sunning themselves this time of year, and bullfrogs are plentiful.

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Your cutie is most likely a Song Sparrow. That the most common of our sparrows with lots of stripes.

Not sure what species the nesting boxes are supposed to attract. Not the right habitat for bluebirds, too small for Wood Ducks, too large for wrens - perhaps for woodpeckers. I'm going to guess the shields are to keep raccoons from raiding the boxes.

Keep an eye on the boxes and post a report if you see them in use.

Now that I can look up Song Sparrow in my book (Birds of New Mexico Field Guide), it does look like one :) Maybe if it had been singing... book says female looks the same as male. Doesn't say if female also sings, but bird does sing a lot. Maybe it is one I have heard in the past but been unable to spot, and maybe this one wasn't ready to sing yet, too early.

With all the trees in the area, one would think woodpeckers could find a hole ready made (not manmade), but watching the boxes to see who turns up is a good project. I'm glad someone put a lot of thought into the project!

It's been too mosquito-y to go to the Bosque lately, but I did find out what those boxes may be for -- swallows!

http://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/bwdsite/solve/quizzes/swallow-fac...

There is a picture of the same kind of bird house in this list of swallow facts. I think we have both Barn and Tree Swallows, which is good, there is plenty for them to eat and share!

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