Friday, November 12, 2010

#24 Field Tip: Searching for Sparrows

Autumn provides some of the best opportunities to search for sparrows. The birds tend to congregate in mixed flocks, making it easier to locate their presence. Check weedy fields by walking slowly and quietly, holding binoculars close to your chin.

Sparrows will often pop-up briefly before dropping back down out of sight. You'll need to react rapidly to bring the binoculars to your eyes, if you want to get a good enough look for identification before the birds disappear.

It takes practice to be able to I.D. sparrows, as many of them look superficially similar. To start, check bill color, breast markings (streaked or not-streaked), and head patterns. Eventually you'll learn to narrow-down the choices based on various field marks. Don't give up, as sparrows can be wonderfully challenging in Autumn and early Winter!
photo © adrian binns

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