Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sparrows can be hard to ID

Two birds are in the above picture.
The bird in the top right corner seems to have
a central breast spot,

but that is not as obvious in the picture below.

I saw these sparrows near the river today in some brush. They were quite small and hopped about in the low branches and ground. I have pored over my bird guides and the internet and cannot find a good match. I thought I had a Song Sparrow in the previous post, but these birds were smaller and had more distinct markings.


  1. I vote song sparrow on this one. I feel like I have to relearn sparrows every spring! I got a book last year by Bill Thompson III called "Identify Yourself" that helped me get comfy id'ing a few sparrows.

  2. I'd call them both song sparrows, but that's my *default* sparrow ID!

  3. Before I even saw the expert opinions, I call them song sparrows (with the help of my field guide). You are right, sparrows are very difficult!

  4. I agree... I'd go with Song Sparrow as well, but for goodness sakes, don't trust LBJ's... yep, that's what they are!

  5. Song sparrows are a good sparrow to Really Learn! Once you get them down, then the others start to get easier!

  6. Lynne- I really have to get a better guide. Mine has one photograph per bird and it may be front or back or side, but never all views.

    Laura- Song sparrow is a very pleasant default!

    Mary- You are the fastest bird-learner on the continent. You just got your guide book a few months ago if I remember correctly.

    Jayne- LBJ's covers it nicely. I think your opinion is right.

    Mon@rch- All I have seen this whole winter are the zillions of HOSPs that have been at my feeders. Now I have a few pics of the Song Sparrow that I will study diligently :-) For some reason I thought they should have a crested head.

  7. I kept trying to turn this streaked little fellow into a Fox Sparrow - it didn't work :0)

  8. Anonymous5:05 pm GMT-4

    Song sparrows. Don't feel bad about ID confusion - sparrows can be very difficult. When we're banding, we use primary feather measurements to help ID.

  9. Cathy- thanks for your efforts! I was hoping for a Fox Sparrow too. Maybe next time.;-)

    LauraO- I find the birds can look different depending on the light. Thanks for the encouragement!


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