Fink Family Farm Bird List

Fink Family Farm Bird List

The only list I faithfully keep is a list of all the birds seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. I thought it would be fun to ad...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What is this bird?

Thanks to Dave Irons for identifying this little sparrow as a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. He says that Spizella sparrows retain this streaked plumage for a few months only. He explains in the comments after my post.

It was seen August 7, 2011, picking around on the ground in front of the barn. It did not hang out with the others eating seed I'd thrown out for them... California Quail, Spottted Towhee, Song Sparrow, House Sparrows. It was smaller and slimmer than the House Sparrows. I thought at first it was a Savannah Sparrow, but the ones we have on our northwestern Oregon farm in the foothills of the coast range usually have yellow lores. This bird had a notched tail, but it was long not short. I'd like to know what it is so am posting nearly all the photos I took in hopes someone will tell me why it is whatever it is. Click on an image to enlarge it. Either comment here or send to my email address:


1 comment:

  1. Dave Irons identified the bird for me:

    It is a juvenile Chipping Sparrow. The heavily-streaked underparts of these birds throw most folks off the trail as they try to identify them. The comparatively longish notched tail (which you noticed) is a good indicator that it's not a Savannah Sparrow. From there, the somewhat capped look, reasonably conspicuous buffy supercilium, dark stripe through the eye, crisp wingbars, and uniform streaking on the underparts are helpful clues. Spizella sparrows don't retain this streaky plumage very long. They will undergo a prebasic body molt before migrating, thus by September or early October the streaking is gone, so this is not a plumage most of us see very often. Unless you live near breeders or spend a fair amount of time up in the mountains in late-July and August, juvenile Chipping Sparrows will be unfamiliar to you.

    If you click on the link below, then click on "identification photos" below the feature photo, then click on photo #8, you should see a bird that looks very much like yours. It is a juv. Chipping Sparrow that was added to the BirdFellow gallery by my friend Mark Szantyr in Connecticut. If anyone is interested in other images of this plumage, I can you jpgs. of birds in this plumage that I photographed at the Cabin Lake Guard Station guzzler a few years ago. They aren't as good as Mark's (I was using a Panasonic Lumix camera at the time).

    Dave Irons