Monday, October 17, 2011

Song Sparrow

Maria and I found and photographed this 5 and 3/4 inch Song Sparrow at the Balboa Park in San Diego on Saturday. At first we thought it was some offshoot of the Savannah/Belding's race Sparrow, but the dark streaking on the back and breast, along with the facial coloration (rusty and gray cap and brown eye-stripe especially), didn't quite match up to my satisfaction.
The eye-stripe and dark streaking on the breast do match the typical Song Sparrow, though the back seemed initially too dark for it to be the same species. However with a little bit of online research and some consultation with Robert Mortensen at Birding Is Fun, we confirmed that it is a slightly local variation of the trans-continental Song Sparrow.
A fine looking bird for all seasons!

Here are some lighter variations found at the Tres Rios preserve in Phoenix.