A Sparrow I Can Actually Identify

For the record, I’d like to proclaim that it is currently miserable outside. I know this because I had to complete a training run tonight and by mile 2 I looked liked I had taken a swim in the local pool. The truck temp gauge registered 84 but if that was true the humidity must have been adding at least 20 degrees to the “feels like” temp. The remaining 3 miles (a short run tonight) eventually dripped by. At least the body is finally getting some heat conditioning for the upcoming Bix7 race. I mention this primarily because hot days like this remind me of Vegas – we were once there in the 114 to 117 degree range – and when I think of Vegas the memories of the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve now quickly follow. Keeping the string alive, here is ANOTHER new bird for the checklist. Ironically, this happens to be a bird that is local for us .. in fact, one of those birds that typically gets ignored because it is a member of the Sparrow family.

Typically, this translates to a brown and gray bird, medium to small sized with white highlights adorning the wing feathering. Unfortunately, there are at least 20 different species of Sparrows that look nearly identical. Followers of this blog will probably remember cases where a shot of these birds is simply referred to as … a Sparrow. Taking the time to figure out what it is exactly is not a good use of time because after all it is really just a Sparrow. When this adult was spotted hanging out in the brush it looked distinct enough to give a go at classifying it. That meant it was worth taking a few shots – the composition looked appealing as well, especially since it was giving the classic cross body pose (above) that typifies my personal style. Of the three shots, the first one is my favorite with the nicely blurred background and glint in the eye.

This is one of those birds that tends to look quite different depending on your viewing angle. You can really see the crown on the top of the head when looking at it straight on, but from the side it tends to provide a more common domed profile as in the shot below.

Hit the jump to read a little more about this new bird to the Blog

The distinctive striping along that crown was the key factor in classifying this particular bird. A quick view through the Stokes’ Guide identified this specimen as a White Crowned Sparrow. Let’s all take a moment to celebrate the fact that this is the FIRST time we here at LifeIntrigued have managed to successfully identify a Sparrow family member. Since there was a photograph and a proper identification, the check mark can officially be placed on the Bird List – one must abide by the rules or the integrity of the List will be destroyed.

To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot to say about Sparrows. They sport a brownish crown during their 1st Winter … so identifying juvis is once again impossible. According to the region map they cover all of North America at some point in the migration cycle. We catch them down here in the Migration range. Aligning with earlier statements, the AllAboutBirds.org website mentioned the are the “surest sparrow identifications in North America”.  I must concur! They also claim their profile is dependent on the bird’s attitude – no details on that but we’ll assume it follows the canine rule – raised hair keep your distance, smooth fur come pet me I’m cute and adorable (or a devious bastard trying to draw you in closer for the jugular lunge). They are insect and seed eaters but there is one interesting characteristic that really caught my interest on Wikipedia.

These birds are being studied for their ability to stay AWAKE for two weeks during migration. And why are they studying this…”for possible human applications” WTF? Can’t way to see those little 5 hour bottles of mainlined energy being filled with White Crowned Sparrow juice – nasty. How about we just take the time to get proper levels of sleep (of course, I’m probably the LAST person that should be commenting on that).

That’s all I have for you on this particular bird. No Folklore about delivering babies or peeing on itself to keep diseases of from rotting flesh. Just a bird that has a sweet song and likes to hang out in the bushes minding its own business. Catch you again soon (trying to stay on top of this unlike the last few months) – maybe after the Bix@6 training run coming up on Thursday.

6 thoughts on “A Sparrow I Can Actually Identify”

  1. Cute, maybe I can identify a sparrow as well. I like the first picture a lot.

    We went to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Southern Florida today to photograph birds and such:


    Other than some woodpeckers, we only saw their native Wood Storks flying in a group in the distance, and their newest Ghost Orchid (yes, a Ghost Orchid) had its flowers eaten between July 3 and July 5 so we couldn’t see it on its Bald Cyprus tree. Got some pictures of swamp lilies, mostly.



  2. Checked out the website – seems like an interesting place although their website kind of leaves something to be desired. I did manage to go to their blog to see what interesting things they were revealing to the world – as expected, (at least on the second page back) they were featuring various birds they’ve had as visitors including a really cool looking Blue Heron! The Prairie Warbler was impressive as well. Can’t believe you came away empty handed on that trip. Did you you make your way down to the lagoon yet? Still telling everyone how awesome that was.

    …………sooooooooooooooo has it stopped raining yet?


  3. Well, we were under threat of violent rains the entire time at the sanctuary so we couldn’t really lag, but it’s not like we aren’t experiencing them all the time anyway (it did in fact pour as we left for the car). There was a lull today, which is good because we were on an evening boat cruise in a bay on Sanibel (= bird pics). But there’s always Tropical Storm Chantal coming, (lady working in the sanctuary gift shop: “They’re calling it a hurricane!”), although it appears to be diminishing…

    We took the cats to the lagoon, but didn’t see many birds–no idea why not. I don’t know if we will be able to stop by tomorrow–we may, and if so will take that walk through the water to get to the better side.

    I was just telling the kids today about that customer in the pet store down here telling us how they shaved all the hairless cats.



  4. Don’t be too upset, it has been raining here and when it isn’t it’s about 85 with 100% humidity! I read where Osprey love kittens!!

    Forgot about the hairless cats comment – did you take them into that store?


  5. Went back to the lagoon this afternoon without the cats, and walked through the water to get to the isolated stretch. Awesome, awesome, awesome! I just may write my guest post yet! No photos of diving Ospreys (up in the trees and too far away for my lens–well, your lens you lent me). But there were plenty of the other big birds up close. And no rain.

    When I was leaving, some Canadian visitor told me that he was staying in one of the hotels there this past March, and he couldn’t believe the number of people with tripods taking photos at the lagoon.

    We may go to the pet store tomorrow afternoon before we leave unless there are weekend charges.



  6. Good deal – I’d hate to think you would make it all the way down there and not have a good day at the lagoon – can’t way to see your pictures! Think next time I’m back there I’m going to work a little harder to get some diving osprey shots – will need to take my tripod along

    eeesh, sounds like word is getting out about that place .. may have to stop touting it so much hehehe

    I think dad said they do charge for the pet store on the weekend – think we went on Friday and it was still free. Pick me up a hairless cat… or maybe just a standard cat and I can do the shaving if it is cheaper


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