Monday, June 01, 2009

A Little Brown-Winged Bird

Chipping Sparrow

My ability to identify little brown birds is gradually improving and I generally recognize our regular seasonal visitors. American Tree Sparrows have returned north to nest and the Chipping Sparrow has taken its place at the feeders. It has the same chestnut cap but lacks a spot on the white breast. It is also smaller than the winter sparrow and is a very messy bird, scattering seeds all over the place for the ground feeders to clean up later.

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The female Red-breasted Grosbeak is very plain compared to her handsome mate as she waits inconspicuously for a place at the feeder. She can sing as beautifully as the male. In late summer the juvenile males share her colouring and it gets more confusing to tell the birds apart.

White-crowned Sparrow

The White-crowned Sparrows have come and gone, although a few stragglers are found year round here. Its song is less melodious than the earlier arriving White-throated Sparrow but its fancy head gear sets it apart and makes it easy to identify.

Song Sparrow

Our most familiar little brown bird is the ever-singing Song Sparrow. It can be seen belting out its familiar tune from conspicuous perches in the city or in the meadow. I found a lovely little volume of poetry written by Charles E. Jackson. Here is his ode to the Song Sparrow.

SONG-SPARROW

A little brown-winged bird am I,
But hear me sing!
A little brown-winged bird am I,
But songs I fling!

I sing, I sing my music rare,
As light and free as the summer air,
A little brown bird am I.

A little brown-winged bird am I,
Hear my refrain.
A little brown-winged bird am I,
Spring wakes again.

A pure-toned voice in golden flow,
A long-drawn cadence thrilling low,
A little brown bird am I.

Charles E. Jackson
Bird Lyrics and Other Poems (1909)


16 comments:

  1. Thanks to birders like you and those on the forum I have found I can identify these "little brown-winged birds" a little more easily this year. The pictures you post have been so helpful. I am by no means close to perfect...but just a wee bit better. I have a long way to go yet.
    I love the little song sparrow. He can belt out any tune anytime for me.
    Warblers are also a challenge, but that is the fun in birding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely pictures! I love birds. Winter in Sweden is so empty without their chatter, and to me, spring has only arrived after I hear the first sound of birds again. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post, Ruth. Good information about the little brown birds.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the chipping sparrow photo because he's looking right at the camera! The song sparrow is plain, but his song is beautiful.
    Must admit I'm not good at distinguishing these birds myself, but it's fun to see someone else do it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Even brown little birds are beautiful if you take the time to look. I love the Chirping Sparrow.

    www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a great post in appreciation of the little brown birds among us. And thanks for the link to the post about Ruddy Turnstones!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoyed the lovely pictures.This show that a pretty bird does not have to be colorful.
    Blessings,Ruth

    ReplyDelete
  8. I did not know there were so many kinds of sparrows. Thanks for sharing your info with us. I will look more carefully in future, as there are many little brown birds in my back yard.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Little brown birds can be tough to ID sometimes. In winter I see the chipping and crowned sparrows. Love the poem.

    Oh yea, I saw a Western Taniger this morning, but no pic.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice photos of the sparrows.I used to confuse tree sparrows with chipping sparrows in the winter.It helps to know when birds are coming and going. There are many variations in the way song sparrows can look.They used to confuse me too. It seems to take some time to learn the lbj's.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love hearing the chipping of the sparrows. I've yet to see a Rose-breasted grosbeak this year. Wonderful photos Ruth!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Ruth....little brown birds are so underated......I love sparrows......they are always so chirpy and always have something to say for themselves.....

    Unfortunately many of them are in decline here, so I do everything I can to help them......

    A lovely post......

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ruth, I have learned to identify so many birds from your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have some Song Sparrows living in my backyard again this summer. I almost never see them, but boy, can they sing! I love hearing them all summer long.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks to all who comments. Hope you enjoy the LBJs this year!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the Great post on little brown birds...I am getting better with sparrows..still so much to learn.

    ReplyDelete