After yesterday’s sombering post, let’s get back to happier things! During my recent visit to Squaw Creek NWR (northwest Missouri), we also ran into (I’m pretty sure) a new life bird for me. As we made our way around the refuge, we stopped at a boardwalk that wound through some trees, to the large open waters of the refuge. All along the boardwalk, I was greeted by an abundant number of sparrows that were residing in the tall grasses and among the Buttonbushes and trees.
I was able to get some pretty nice images of them. When I returned home, I spent some time comparing the images to various sparrow species in my bird ID books. I believe the sparrows to be American Tree Sparrows (Spizella arborea), but would certainly welcome comments/corrections from my many birding friends. I settled on the American Tree Sparrow for several reasons: the two-toned bill, the rusty cap, dark chest spot, and two white wing bars.
I did a bit of research on this bird and found that it is a cold weather sparrow (certainly in the right spot!) that is seen south of Canada only in winters. In winter, they flock together in large groups, often with juncos and other sparrows. Here are a couple of my favorite images I made of them:
It is quite likely I’ve seen these guys before, but didn’t realize what they were. Just goes to show that a little patience and close/careful attention will often yield new and exciting things in the world of nature!