Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sometimes I Miss the Little Ones: Savannah Sparrow on the California Prairie

It was a rich weekend for finding birds on the California Prairie. I think I'm finally starting to run short of species from my trip last Saturday, but it is rare that I post four new species in just one week. Today's featured species is the kind of bird that I constantly overlook because they are always sort of there in the foreground while I'm staring off in the distance looking for those larger "charismatic" types. They are the sparrows of course, and I'm only just beginning to learn to tell them apart. The bird above is a Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis; the species name is almost longer than the bird is). These are one of the common sparrows all across North America, with an estimated population of 180 million. They thrive in grassland prairies, although their name is based on the city in Georgia. The little yellow patch over the eye is one of their distinguishing characteristics.

I clearly need to learn my sparrow species. About thirty different kinds have been sighted in my region, although just twelve of them are abundant. Still, size really doesn't count in this business. The little ones are sometimes the prettiest. Just ask any hummingbird...

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