The Song Sparrow

lorilee

Sumner, United States

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A Song Sparrow on the edge of the woods near my home in northeast Iowa.
Image taken “As Is” using my Canon PowerShot SX30 IS.

Song Sparrow
Melospiza melodia ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: EMBERIZIDA

A rich, russet-and-gray bird with bold streaks down its white chest, the Song Sparrow is one of the most familiar North American sparrows. Don’t let the bewildering variety of regional differences this bird shows across North America deter you: it’s one of the first species you should suspect if you see a streaky sparrow in an open, shrubby, or wet area. If it perches on a low shrub, leans back, and sings a stuttering, clattering song, so much the better.

Size & Shape
Song Sparrows are medium-sized and fairly bulky sparrows. For a sparrow, the bill is short and stout and the head fairly rounded. The tail is long and rounded, and the wings are broad.

Color Pattern
Song Sparrows are streaky and brown with thick streaks on a white chest and flanks. On a closer look, the head is an attractive mix of warm red-brown and slaty gray, though these shades, as well as the amount of streaking, vary extensively across North America.

Behavior
Song Sparrows flit through dense, low vegetation or low branches, occasionally moving onto open ground after food. Flights are short and fluttering, with a characteristic downward pumping of the tail. Male Song Sparrows sing from exposed perches such as small trees.

Habitat
Look for Song Sparrows in nearly any open habitat, including marsh edges, overgrown fields, backyards, desert washes, and forest edges. Song Sparrows commonly visit bird feeders and build nests in residential areas.

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Artwork Comments

  • Jack Ryan
  • lorilee
  • barnsis
  • lorilee
  • Larry Trupp
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  • lindaMakiej
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  • Robin Webster
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  • Pamela Phelps
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  • Emma Holmes
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  • Elaine Bawden
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  • Barry Norton
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  • stuartoikawa
  • lorilee
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