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Monday, December 14, 2009

Fox Sparrow

(Click on image to see larger size)

Fox Sparrow at our feeders. Kinda looks like the "mad bluebird" photo. Note the front streaks come together forming a big central breast dot.

We can't say there are no birds at the feeders anymore, there are tons! Included is this wonderful Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), one of my favorite sparrows. Love the foxy color. That puts it way ahead of other sparrow species in the sartorial department, most of whom are brown.

There are many subspecies of Fox Sparrow, divided into four groups, and they vary in color. Most have reddish on their tail rump and wings. The ones we see here are of the Northern Red Group, referred to as the "Red Fox Sparrow" and have some of the most red on their bodies. They breed in the far north, from Alaska to Newfoundland and winter in the Southeast. Western subspecies groups are often darker in color. The Fox Sparrow is also a big sparrow, at 7" in length, making it stand out next to the juncos, who are 6 1/4" in length.

This Fox Sparrow has been at our feeders since the big snowstorm. Hope it stays here for a while. It would be great to count it for the Christmas Bird Count, which takes place in our area this Sat.,


Carol said...

You're right!! What a great face.

Molly Merula said...

How beautiful! <3 I'm excited about the American Tree Sparrows and White-Throated Sparrows that come to my feeders in the winter. I've seen a tan morph White-Throated two or three times this year, which is a first for me! Unfortunately, he always leaves before I can grab the camera. :P Someday...

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Great images of a beautiful bird. I love their coloration.

Balisha said...

I am just writing about the Fox Sparrow that has been on our feeder for 7 hours today.Your pictures are wonderful. The first one does look like the mad bluebird. I've enjoyed my visit here.