Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fox Sparrows and Wood Thrushes

My photo

In a recent post I showed this picture and identified the bird in the shadows as a Wood Thrush. I belong to the local birding forum and can learn and share with others in the group. Another birder and photographer, Heidi Staniforth, took a picture of the same bird later in the week when it ventured out into the open. The colours of the Wood Thrush and the Fox Sparrow are similar, but their markings are different. Here is a quote from the forum from one of our local experts.

Hi Ruth,

Definite Fox Sparrow in your shot, there.

Note the big triangular "sub-moustacial" marks bordering the throat. The only two birds in Ontario so marked are Song Sparrow and Fox Sparrow. And this bird, being quite reddish (I think?) must be the latter. What Heidi said about the large central spot, and the triangular shape of the spots, is also true - just a little harder to see in your photo that hers, but you can at least tell that they're not the nice rounded 'blobs' that a thrush would have.

Anyway, I know we're all up with spring fever and everything, but give those Wood Thrushes a break - it's a long way from Central America! We should begin to see them, at last, in about a month. And then - let the fun begin!

Peter C.

It is nice to know people who are in the know!!

Heidi's Photo of a Fox Sparrow


  1. Both species are lovely birds. I have been looking all winter for a fox sparrow but have yet to see one. I love the ruts in their feathers.

  2. I'm so glad you cleared that up. Just kidding.

  3. I never saw any fox sparrows this winter and I've NEVER seen a wood thrush--only heard them.

  4. This is good info..I too have only heard the wood thrushes and not seen them...Michelle

  5. Anonymous8:28 am GMT-4

    Very cute birds...I have not seen one yet. That is not the bird that I thought I saw in my sister's bush. The markings and size are much different. I hope to see a fox sparrow, wood thrush and the unidentified one from last...maybe this year.

  6. Anonymous8:33 pm GMT-4

    Very nice, our Fox Sparrows should be here by now but I have not seen any yet! Great photos!


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