With snowfall predicted all of today, I didn’t want to risk getting moisture into my camera during a walk.
Instead, I had a look at my sparrow photographs over the last few years and decided to put together this guide to their identification.
Easily the most commonly seen and heard of the sparrows. (House Sparrows are not true sparrows):
Note the heavy breast streaks which converge into a large central spot.
This central spot completes a triangle with the dark blotches on each side of the throat.
The Swamp Sparrow has a reddish cap,
a white throat patch
and rather reddish wings and tail.
The Field Sparrow has a clear breast,
a rusty cap
and a pink bill.
The Lincoln’s Sparrow is similar to the Song Sparrow but the side of the face is grayer.
The breast streaks are finer and do not aggregate into a central spot.
Note the band of creamy buff across the breast.
The Fox Sparrow has rufous tail.
The rusty combined with gray about the neck gives the bird its foxy look.
My grandfather told me that this is the most common farmer’s field bird in Canada. Despite this, I have few photos of it as I am seldom near this habitat.
It has a whitish crown stripe and a yellowish eyebrow stripe.
The Chipping Sparrow is a small gray-breasted sparrow.
Note the black line through the eye and a white line over it.
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW
The Tree Sparrow has a solid red-brown cap,
a dark spot on the breast
and the bill is dark above and yellow below.
The Clay-coloured Sparrow is plain-breasted,
has a light crown stripe
and a sharply outlined ear patch.
The White-crowned Sparrow has a clear grayish breast,
and a puffy crown striped with black and white.
The bill is pink.
In migration we see the juvenile which has a brownish head stripe.
The White-throated Sparrow is gray breasted,
has a white throat
and a yellow spot between the eye and the bill.
There is also a tan-coloured version of this sparrow.