Don’t Overlook Sparrows!

Some more advanced birders overlook sparrows because they are just “Little Brown Jobs”. For novice birders, sparrows species can very tough to identify. And to others, sparrows don’t have the flashy plumage of warblers or complex songs of orioles. But sparrows are very beautiful birds if you really look at them and take the time to tell them apart.

Where I live, I’m lucky if I see more than five species of warblers a year, so I focus on sparrows instead.

I’ve seen Clay-colored Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Lincoln’s Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Vespers Sparrows, a Harris’s Sparrow, Chipping Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos visiting my feeders at one time or another, and Song Sparrows around our yard. Some of their songs are quite melodious and it’s really fun watch their antics, especially the Savannah Sparrows.

For those who would like some more help with sparrow identification, there’s a very good article by Marcel Gahbauer on telling sparrow species apart, at the Migration Research Foundation/McGill Bird Observatory website.

Chipping Sparrows are very distinct looking sparrow and their song is a long trill,

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White-throated Sparrows have a beautiful song are very easy to identify and the mnemonic for their song is ” O Sweet Canada Canada Canada”,

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Vesper Sparrows are one of the more nondescript sparrows, but their song is very lovely,

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Dark-eyed Juncos are very pretty sparrows, and depending on where you live you might get different variations of juncos,

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One of the first sparrows to arrive in the spring are the White-crowned Sparrows, they don’t stay for long as they are just migrating through. I think they look as if they are wearing bicycle helmets,

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Don’t overlook sparrows because you might find something out of the ordinary! This Harris’s Sparrow stopped at my feeders last month and stayed for a couple of days. I was very excited to see him, because I had never seen a Harris’s Sparrow before and they are uncommon in my area,

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Overlook Sparrows!

  1. I’m a sparrow fan too! This is a good collection of photos highlighting them. I was very happy to see an out-of-place Harris’s Sparrow this past winter here in central Ohio- they’re much more likely to be seen out on the prairies :) Thanks for the sparrow ID link!

  2. Wonderful post, Charlotte! We have similar sparrows in our area, though I have never seen a Harris’s Sparrow. How lucky you were to have one visit you for a few days. I will definitely check out your sparrow identification link.Thank you for sharing! Terrific photographs, too!

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