Lincolns Sparrows are fairly common breeders in northern Ontario and pass through southern Ontario in migration about the same time as the more conspicuous White-crowned Sparrow, on their way south to winter in Central America.
Because of their furtive habits they are frequently missed by casual bird watchers, but bird banders often catch good numbers.
Lincolns Sparrows look like a grayish Song Sparrow but with fine black streaking. The breast has a broad buffy band across it and down the sides.
They may or may not show a central breast spot. I think of them as the little sparrow with orange “jowls” (malar stripes) and a scared expression caused by an eye-ring and somewhat raised crest, often emphasized by outstretched neck and and crouched position, as they peek furtively out from a low bush and then silently steal away.
The song sounds to me like “chur-chur-chur-ta-wee-wee-wee-wah-ah”, but sonograms show that the bird actually sings two notes for every one that I register: the song has a bubbly quality reminiscent of House Wren or Purple Finch songs. The call note is a dry “tick”.