2birdfeature #14: Sparrows


Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) – Newfoundland

The more I look at the sun showering these spruce trees with light and warmth and photosynthetic energy, the harder I have to grip my desk as I look out the window, present day. Still grey. The trees, still standing with their limbs frozen mid lethargic sigh. The juncos are darting under limbs and flashing their white tail feathers though and for that, I crack a smile. If I could draw as much vitality from the complete medium-ness that is winterspring, I’d be out there scaling the birch trees and running through the tarnished snow barefoot.


Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) – Newfoundland


Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) – Newfoundland

I’ve seen many Song Sparrows in my day and so have you, you just don’t know it. You’ve heard a bunch of them too. Their song is in your internal soundtrack, as familiar to you as the crunch of gravel underfoot.

The thing about sparrows is that they are ever-present but perhaps, a collection of aesthetic wallflowers. We often refer to them as Little Brown Birds, an offensive turn for such a crucial cog in every ecosystem.


Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) – Newfoundland


Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) – Newfoundland


Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) – Newfoundland

Swamp Sparrows, too, live in your internal soundtrack (east of the Rockies). Sometimes that buzzy sound you attribute to insects in tall grass is a Swamp Sparrow instead.

Relax. But focus. That’s how you find sparrows. Try to isolate the most common sounds you know, you might be surprised what you find.


Hello my fellow nature wanderers! I have some exciting news! I will be launching a new website at the end of March!

It seems from my statistics on InkFromTheQuill that you enjoy videos so my new website will contain much more of that! Vlogs (video logs) and other media documenting my work in the field as an ornithologist as well as my birding and travel experiences. The blog posts will continue as well!

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Come away with me! Into a land of wanderlust and avian dinosaurs!