Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Help with a Sparrow ID

This is my third year of trying to learn to identify sparrows. A friend recommended the book Identify Yourself: the Fifty Most Common Birding Identification Challenges by Bill Thompson III, aka Bill of the Birds. To be honest going in to my challenge I was only hopeful to be able to tell female house sparrows from anything else. That first year I learned to firmly id chipping sparrows, fox sparrows and white-throated sparrows and I was happy. Last spring I got the book out again and added white-crowned, Harris's and song sparrows.
Last week this guy showed up. He looked a bit daintier than the song sparrows scratching under the feeders. I want so badly to call him a Lincoln's sparrow. His chest has a buffier wash. No dark dot on his breast.
His tail is shorter and his streaks are finer.
Warmer tones all around.
These last two pictures are of one of the song sparrows hanging around for comparison.

Is it all wishful thinking? Go ahead and shoot me out of the water if need be. I really need help on this one.

By the way- no one has moved the can of starter fluid. It seems to be a bird magnet!


Liza Lee Miller said...

HEET -- the favorite starter fluid of sparrows

Okay, I looked on Flickr {click}.
I am absolutely NOT a sparrow expert since I have my own Sparrow Quest going on right now too. But, it looks like a Lincoln's to me!

Carolyn H said...

It looks like a Lincoln's sparrow to me, but it sure isn't acting like a Lincoln's--out there in the open, all proud of itself. Lincoln's are usually skulkers and difficult to ID bcause they don't show themselves most of the time. Oh, you might see a tail or a back or hear a scratch, but actualy *see* the whole bird for more than .3 seconds, now that's rare.

Carolyn h.

NatureShutterbug said...

Looks like a Lincoln's Saprrow - when I compared the side view to a side view I have.

birdchick said...

I agree, it's a Lincoln's sparrow. During migration, they can turn up anywhere. They will eat millet, thistle and sunflower chips.

cestoady said...

Sparrows are tough to identify -- or even just see as your nice photo sequence demonstrates-- it took me a while to see the bird because I was drawn to that darn can !! Maybe they are meant to be somewhat mysterious because doesn't God have His eye on the sparrow ??-- and no other bird ??

You have a lot going on in your little piece of heaven -- reminds me what I have seen at another site: that at this time of year is alive with life --but no bunnies. But a bigger back yard too.

Lynne said...

Liza- that can... Sparrow Quest- I like that!

Carolyn- The sparrow was only about 3 feet from a dense lilac hedge. It would pop out, scratch and then scoot back to the lilacs. Thanks for visiting!

Natureshutterbug- thanks for the opinion and for stopping by!

Birdchick- All of those foods were on the ground under the feeders. Thanks for the word.

Cestoady- Sparrows ARE tough but I love their understatedness (is that a word?) "His Eye is on the Sparrow" by Tennessee Ernie Ford was one of my Dad's favorite hymns-Thanks for reminding me! Thanks also for the link to Nature Remains and for visiting here!

Susan Gets Native said...

Well, whatever he is, it looks like his car needs the fluids checked. Why won't someone help him???

Anonymous said...

It's a Lincoln's Sparrow. Congrats!! They hang around with White-throated and White-crowns when migrating. We had one in our backyard last week.

Mary said...

Wow! Don't anyone touch that can!

Lynne said...

Susan- They've got to keep their cars in tune for the long drive north!! ;)

anonymous- Thanks! It's a lifer for me. I've been able to watch it off and onn for two days and now I feel confident that I can id one in the future.

Mary- It's a VERY special HEET can.

Cathy said...

You are soooo lucky! In your BACKYARD! I have to travel miles and miles to see these lovely birds and I've never gotten a picture. Congratulations, Lynne.

Larry said...

Where can I get one of those cans?-It seems to attract lots of birds.