We bird watchers often are fixated on the big sexy birds like eagles, hawks, herons & crows. However, it is time to pay some homage to a little workhorse of the bird family. That is the Sparrow Family & specifically the Song Sparrows, which I spotted in plain sight several places this week.
Just yesterday looking out my window at the bird feeder area I spotted a new visitor. It was this little Song Sparrow who is so different than the Juncos and House Sparrows we usually get. Suppose he is looking for a good winter spot or got blown up out of the woodlands during a recent wind storm.
Here is a good closeup of this guy so you can see his streaked breast. Up here in the Pacific Northwest this species is much darker than their Eastern and Southwestern sisters and brothers. One of my bird guides called it “Sooty”. Here is what Cornell Lab of Ornithology website says about this color difference.
Some scientists think that Song Sparrows of wet, coastal areas have darker plumage as a defense against feather mites and other decay agents that thrive in humid climates. The darker plumage contains more of a pigment called melanin, which makes feathers tougher and harder to degrade than lighter, unpigmented feathers.
Want to read more about Song Sparrows at Cornell? Here is the link.
A couple days ago I was down at the Ocean View beach on Puget Sound. Like I said I was following the sexy bigger birds like crows and an eagle hanging out in the madrona trees. Then walking back I saw out of the corner of my eye some movement in the brush. It was this little sparrow eking out some seeds for lunch. Here are some still photos and a short video. On the video you can hear the surf in the background. I found that part of this just as soothing as watching my bird feeding without fear.
Now here is the video that will thrill the bird watcher in you.
Lastly, today on the trail back up from the beach I encountered this sparrow in the ocean spray bushes. First see if you can see him in the distance photo.
I leave you with a favorite photo of the Trail Song Sparrow. It is his expression that grabs you.