My Local Friend – IV

When I think of this other bird, a permanent resident in my backyard I see it as a mouse that goes around the deck pecking at everything, I’m referring to the Song Sparrow, he goes in and out of bushes, plants, flower pots you name it. They feel very comfortable eating on the ground.

Here are some more interesting information to help you get acquainted with this terrific bird.

The song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a medium-sized American sparrow. Among the native sparrows in North America, it is easily one of the most abundant, variable and adaptable species.

Adult song sparrows have brown upperparts with dark streaks on the back and are white underneath with dark streaking and a dark brown spot in the middle of the breast. They have a brown cap and a long brown rounded tail. Their face is gray with a streak through the eye.

In the field, they are most easily confused with its congener the Lincoln’s sparrow, and the Savannah sparrow. The former can be recognized by its shorter, grayer tail and the differently-patterned head, the brown cheeks forming a clear-cut angular patch. The Savannah sparrow has a forked tail and yellowish flecks on the face when seen up close.

The sparrow species derives it name from its colorful repertoire of songs. Enthusiasts report that one of the songs heard often in suburban locations closely resembles the opening four notes of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The male uses a fairly complex song to declare ownership of its territory and attract females.

Singing itself consists of a combination of repeated notes, quickly passing isolated notes, and trills. The songs are very crisp, clear, and precise, making them easily distinguishable by human ears. A particular song is determined not only by pitch and rhythm but also by the timbre of the trills. Although one bird will know many songs—as many as 20 different tunes with as many as 1000 improvised variations on the basic theme unlike thrushes, the song sparrow usually repeats the same song many times before switching to a different song.

Text © HJ Ruiz  © Wikipedia. photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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