Thursday, May 04, 2006

Most Beautiful Birds

Grasshopper Sparrow

There is a “Most Beautiful Birds” meme going around bird-blogosphere in the form of a "tag" to cite 10 favorite plumaged birds. Since they're often absent or neglected from making such lists, I'm going to deviate from obvious choices and cast my vote for those sly birds affectionately known as “little brown jobs.

In short flights, they can be as inconspicuous as a quick streak of brown as they dash into dense cover. "What was that?", a birder will say or think. But the patient observer will be rewarded. Close study will reveal their smart and magnificent character. Kroodsma's chapter on Song Sparrows from The Singing Life of Birds illuminated a greater appreciation for the very common, yet extraordinarily behaving brown little bird.

With adoration and respect, they are stealth masters of fields and prairies. From insect trills to melodious phrases, expert vocalists send songs that carry great distances. Color of wood, stone and cotton, often punctuated with dramatic highlights – bright patches of canary yellow, rich pumpkin eye-arcs, striking crown-stripes and malar markings.
  1. Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
  2. Henslow's Sparrow
  3. LeConte's Sparrow
  4. Grasshopper Sparrow
  5. Harris's Sparrow
  6. Fox Sparrow
  7. Lincoln's Sparrow
  8. White-crowned Sparrow
  9. White-throated Sparrow
  10. Chipping Sparrow

Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow

Maybe sparrow you should wait
The hawks alight till morning
You'll never pass beyond the gate
If you don't hear my warning

Notes are hung so effortless
With the rise and fall of sparrow's breast
It's a drowning dive and back to the chorus

La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da

"Maybe Sparrow" - Neko Case

Link: My Sparrow Gallery

All images © 2006 Mike McDowell

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