Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Mystery Sparrow???

Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
Okay, so I am NOT a knowledgeable birder. I'm new at it and don't have a great camera set up and blah blah blah.

So, I took this pic at Elkhorn Slough. I scoured my bird books, pictures on the web, and the web pages for Elkhorn Slough and decided it was an immature White-crowned Sparrow.

My friend, Susan, thinks its a female house sparrow. So, I've been doing some research on it -- always love a challenge and besides, it's a great way to procrastinate the work I really need to be doing!

So, here is a web page with an immature White-Crowned Sparrow. Now this guy is a birder. And, a photographer. I am in awe of him and his digiscoping skills. Don't just look at this bird -- peruse the site -- it's amazing! Oh, here's the link! [click]

Here is a page with a female house sparrow. [click] Same photographer.

Now, to me, they look a lot alike but I notice that the House Sparrow has a bigger, beefier beak and the White-Crowned House Sparrows is more delicate. I think my bird looks to have a more delicate beak. Also, the HOSP has a shorter tail (as best I can tell) and the WHSP has a longer tail. Mine has a longer tail. I'm sure that this is one of those things that someone with any familiarity with either of the birds in question could tell immediately but (thankfully) I don't have HOSPs at my house so I'm not familiar with them in anything other than a "Oh look, a sparrow" kind of a way. Maybe I should just say its a Sparrow. Hey, at least I knew that much, right? I didn't think it was a Bald Eagle! Or a Brown Pelican! Or a really large hummingbird!


Susan Gets Native said...

You may not consider yourself a "birder" but you will make a great one because you don't back down!
We unfortunately have way too many HOSP around, and I see them every day.

Look at the wing bars (the white lines on the wings). HOSP have one, WHSP have two. And HOSP have more pinkish legs than WHSP.
And remember..the nesting season has been over for a while. Sparrows will be in adult plumage right now.
And kudos for knowing it was a sparrow. (My husband can hardly tell the difference between a sparrow and a finch.
Female and immature sparrows are as hard as fall warblers to ID.

LauraHinNJ said...

Susan's right.

When you've seen enough house sparrows, something about them just says *house sparrow* without much thought.

For me it's that white eyebrow, and the posture. The bill is very different, too.

I wouldn't recommend learning with sparrows - you'll go nuts. Start with easier birds.