Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Last Sparrow!

American Tree Sparrows have arrived at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, just one day beyond my usual fall observation date for this species. They're pretty reliable and hearty birds and will be present at the conservancy from now until sometime in April. Right now there are only a dozen or so, but in the coming weeks they'll reach numbers in the hundreds.

American Tree Sparrows belong to the genus spizella under the family Emberizidae. Juncos and towhees are also emberizids. Despite their name, New World sparrows are not closely related to Old World sparrows - they're buntings! What if the American Ornithologists' Union decided to rename them? Can you imagine Fox Bunting, Henslow's Bunting, or Chipping Bunting? I doubt that would ever happen, but it's interesting to appreciate the reason we call many North American emberizids “sparrows” is because of their superficial resemblance to Old Word sparrows.

Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
Oct 23, 2013 7:30 AM - 9:15 AM
36 species 

Canada Goose
Cooper's Hawk
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Lapland Longspur
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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