American Tree Sparrow at Humber Bay: January 2021

In Toronto, we think of the Tree Sparrow as a winter bird:

American Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrows nest in open shrubby vegetation in tundra.

American Tree Sparrow

Just before their migration north, some begin to sing their lovely song which has been called “fairy music.” My grandfather called it ” a Song Sparrow up an octave.”

American Tree Sparrow
American Tree Sparrow
American tree Sparrow

i was able to photograph a Mute Swan coming in for a landing on this day:

Park scenes:

Some botany:

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaea)
Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Rose hip
Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana)
Autumn-olive (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Highbush-cranberry (Viburnum opulus)
Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)

Sparrow in Ancient Egyptian Culture

According to the ancient Egyptians, sparrows would catch the souls of the recently deceased and carry them to heaven. (Years later, it became common for sailors to get sparrow tattoos in hopes that the birds would catch their souls if they died at sea.) The ancient Egyptians used a hieroglyph that represented the house sparrow. It was used as a determinative in the words “small,” “narrow,” or “bad.”

Miles Hearn

6 thoughts on “American Tree Sparrow at Humber Bay: January 2021

  1. Lisa Volkov

    So many colourful things to see during this grey and snowless interval–those purples! Who said it’s drab out there? The plump looking little Tree Sparrow is of course adorable, and the swan coming in for a landing is an aspect we don’t always see. Fascinating information about the role of sparrows in Ancient Egypt. And–The Wayfaring Tree! Thanks, Miles!

  2. Lisa Volkov

    I might have erased my comment–I hit a “back button” instead of the one I should have. If the comment comes up twice, I apologize. I mentioned how much colour there was to be seen in this grey, snowless interval–those purples! I said. Who says its “drab” right now? I went on to mention how adorable the plump little Tree Sparrow was, referred to how fascinating the information about the sparrow in ancient Egypt was, how we don’t always get to see a swan in the aspect of landing, and I also thanked Miles for featuring The Wayfaring Tree, a “specialty” of mine.

    For those of you wondering about the woman who ALWAYS comments on these posts, let me explain myself: I am socially isolating myself, and this is my way of participating in something I attended “religiously” (Miles’ Nature Walks) since Fall 2013. I hope nobody minds the frequency of my “weighing in”!

    1. Roberta and Benson

      Hi Lisa,
      It’s always a pleasure to read your comments. I love your enthusiasm and look forward to when we can all rejoin Miles on his walks. Take care,


    Mute swan landing – glorious – just like an aircraft – landing gear down, – full flaps – spoilers deployed on landing. Great photography Miles

  4. Gloria James

    I don’t think humans could have designed any aircraft without studying how birds accomplish such smooth, graceful landings — beautiful photos of the tree sparrows.


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