Bird #71 — Song Sparrow

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.

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