November 14, 2012

Song Sparrow – little brown baseline

Bill Hubick

The song sparrow is one of the most abundant, gregarious members of the sparrow family. Central breast spot and overall streaky appearance are helpful field notes but more than visual clues it is habitat that will help you identify these little brown birds. Song sparrows are the sparrow-de-facto for most marshy, brambled, wet fields, and reed lined ponds and streams. With a bold, catch me if you can attitude they are at once illusive, flying low across the path, and rustling just out of sight and at the same time proud, perching on a high stalk to sing their clear, two noted introductory song. Song sparrows will come to feeders but are most often found near water, from salt marsh to city stream. As the more common sparrow you are likely to encounter while still presenting a confusing mix of streaky, splotchy, field marks the Song Sparrow is a perfect baseline sparrow to learn well so that you can move onto other sparrows. 

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact:

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