The picture of this House Sparrow was taken at the New York Botanical Gardens. The picture of this House Sparrow was taken with the CANON EOS 7D and the CANON 100-400 lens and the CANON 580EXII flash.
If you have ever wondered as I have about the small feathers around the eye of a bird, here is an explanation that I gleaned from a really good description of bird feathers from Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feather
Bristles are stiff, tapering feathers with a large rachis (main shaft of a feather) but few barbs (branches from main shaft). Rictal bristles are bristles found around the eyes and bill. They may serve a similar purpose to eyelashes in mammals. It has been suggested that they may aid insectivorous birds in prey capture or that it may have sensory functions.