melospiza (from melos, song, and spiza, finch) melodia (pleasant song)
Wednesday, October 3, 1979 — 2:30 pm
Barrington, Illinois — Crabtree Nature Center
I had been having trouble with sparrows. I had identified a few of the easy ones when I had plenty of time to look at them, but I was missing a lot of them. I finally developed a strategy all my own. I checked my books and determined that the Song Sparrow was common in my haunts. I studied up on its field marks until I knew them by heart. Then I identified every sparrow on the basis of whether it was a Song Sparrow or not. If not, I didn’t worry about it.
It paid off. I was walking by the apple orchard when I saw about five Song Sparrows. I knew what they were right away. They were active in a row of bushes between the orchard and a prairie/field. I’m not sure how many there were because rarely was more than one in sight at a time.