What kind of sparrows are these?

Hello all – This time, I thought I would test your knowledge of sparrows. Both of these handsome specimens were taken on the same bird count last January in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC. They are quite tricky to tell apart in this part of the world in late fall and early winter, especially for those of us used to seeing them out East (unless we see them together, of course, since one is noticeably bigger than the other). In this case, I would invite you to look at three important features to make you determination: the head, the bill and the shape of the spots on the breast. Good luck!


11 responses to “What kind of sparrows are these?

  1. Just click on the images to see the full sized picture. And I will not reveal the correct answers for a couple of days…

  2. 1. Fox
    2. Song

  3. And subscribing. !#$%$#! WordPress!

  4. 😀
    I just hate it because it doesn’t automatically subscribe you to a post if you’ve made a comment. I’m always forgetting to check the dang box!

    Sweet sparrow shots!

  5. I am going to try
    1. Fox What a wonderful shot
    2. Lincoln’s

  6. 1. Fox 2. Song
    The Fox is, I believe, easily identified….a very pretty bird. I’m going with a Song Sparrow not only because of the brown streaks and the chest spots, but because of the stout bill….the Lincoln’s bill is thinner and the breast has a buffy tone to it, which this bird does not.

  7. OK, if I get THIS one wrong, then we’re all idiots together right? I too put my chips on Fox and Song, though I’m scared to hit “post comment”. Mind you, what did the motto above state? “Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing”! Having said all that, it was worth clicking on this blog just to read the exchange between Pierre, Diane G and !#$%$#! WordPress! 🙂

  8. Ok, time to end the suspense and to tank you all for your great comments! If you are used to the birds out east, the major difficulty here, of course, is that both species are darker than what you are normally used to. In the end, most of you still got it right – way to go!
    The first sparrow is a Foxy: The two most important clues in this case are the larger, diamond-shaped “spots” on the breast and the yellowish lower mandible of the bill. The second is a Song: The major clue here is that the head and cheeks of the bird have clearly defined grey stripes, but the fine breast streaks and the uniformly dark bill are also significant.
    Needless to say, these differences can be hard to spot in the field when they are moving around so quickly!

  9. Pingback: If you would like an answer to the post below… « Not only for the birds?

  10. Fun post, Pierre!