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Sparrow Id (1 Viewer)


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Picture Taken In Glenview Illinois. A Striped Sparrow ,but Which One?



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Katy Penland said:
A drab first-winter Lark Sparrow? The 3rd photo looks so different from the other two, you're sure it's the same bird?
When learning to identify North American sparrows it helps to divide them into two broad groups: those with streaked underparts vs. those that are unstreaked. Your bird clearly falls into the first group, and is this category the default bird is always Song Sparrow and your first question should be "why isn't this bird a song sparrow?" In this case your bird clearly shows all the classic marks of a song sparrow, including thick streaks that coalesce into a central spot on the underparts. Even better your bird shows a gray (or gray-brown) ear patch that is strongly bordered by dark brown stripes then both a whitish supercilium and a whitish submoustachial stripe. I've never thought about this so closely before but this is what gives a song sparrow its diagnostic "look," other similar sparrows show different combinations of brown or rufous ear patches, plus gray or buffy superciliums and submoustachial stripes.

Hope this helps you see these details in your photographs. It's a valuable exercise to study all song sparrows closely in the field and get to know their many variations, and this will help you feel more confident in that wonderful "Eureka!" moment you encounter something unexpected.

David Lukas
:t: I like your strategy, David, in asking "why isn't this bird a Song Sparrow" since they're ubiquitous in North America. Where I live, I don't see many different species except on migration in the spring/early summer, and then they're vocalizing which is mostly how they're ID'd. (My ears were always better than my eyes.) Ditto, Empidonax and Myiarchus flycatchers. In the fall, I all but give up on visual IDing (and I should give up trying to ID from internet photos, too), which is one reason why I'm learing so much on BF. Input from people like you, JanJ, Rasmus, Streatham and a whole host of others is invaluable and very much appreciated. :clap:
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