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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Song Sparrow

As many of us in the north have mentioned, it's a really strange year! The field is full of song sparrows. There are usually a few, but right now, that's all I'm hearing- well with the starlings and robins. But no red-winged blackbirds, and no meadowlarks yet. Seems odd to me.

However, you get... song sparrow, Melospiza melodia. The first two pictures I took yesterday. See how the aspen catkins are pointed sideways in the breeze!

song sparrow

Except for the shadow from the branch, this picture's not too bad. You can see the relatively long tail, gray eyebrow, white throat and striped/spotted breast with a central spot. Here it is singing.

song sparrow

Today, I tried to get a recording of the song. I made three tries, and the sounds were a little too distant. Mostly you can hear the wind, and as much as I'd like to share, I don't think it's good enough to tell you much of anything. However, with the lens all the way out, the quality of the images is worse, but you can pick up a few details.

For instance, here you can see the central spot on the breast very clearly! Song sparrows are common around the country, and there is a lot of variation, but they all have some sort of central spot with broken stripes around it.

song sparrow

And... it's so important to keep that spot clean!

song sparrow

Hope I haven't bored you with a very common bird, but their song is very sweet. The usual mnemonic to remember it is "Maids, maids, maids, put on the tea kettle-ettle-ettle-ettle!"

They always make me smile. Such a homey-cottage sort of message.

It's time I looked for a spring/summer background, don't you think? How do you like Iris 'Katharine Hodgkin?'

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betchai said...

there is no common bird for me except maybe sea gull :) i love waking up with the birds singing too

Don't unplug your hub. said...

Your blog is never boring! I only have the house sparrows, they chatter away rather than sing. Not very impressive to look at, but still one of my favourite birds.

Reena Walkling said...

Never bored when birds are involved. Each and every one is special!

Ratty said...

You didn't bore me. I think this is a fun post. And I love that second picture where the bird is in mid-song.

Sharkbytes said...

betchai- yes, the gulls do get a bit overbearing!

John- they can be handsome, but they are alien here, and quite the pests

Reena- you get awesome pix of them!

Ratty- I knew you wouldn't mind a familiar face!

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