Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow

Now that the recent website changes have been for the most part completed, we can finally start posting some new photographic material!

The Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliaca, is so named because of its rich reddish-brown colour and is one of our largest sparrows 17-19 cm in length. In these south-eastern parts of Ontario the Fox Sparrow is only seen for a week or two every fall as it is heading to the very Northern reaches of the province to nest.  It’s a hard to bird to see, not only because it doesn’t stay in this area very long, but it prefers lurking in impenetrable thick brushy habitat where it forages on the ground for seeds, berries and any invertebrates it may find.  They are quite aggressive as they scrape the ground for food which is often a noisy process. That along with their unique song makes them one of those frustrating birds you often can hear but don’t see.  The Fox Sparrow usually nests on the ground or low in a thick bush and the female lays three to four eggs which she then incubates for about twelve days before they hatch.

The following images of a Fox Sparrow were taken about two weeks ago and I was very pleased to find these birds out in the open and even sitting on a perch.  I did include two shots of a Fox Sparrow in their typical position on the ground.  When shooting birds on the ground it is very important to get the camera down at the birds level, which often means lying down & getting dirty however the nice low angle makes for a much better image.  Of the two ground shots below, one was taken kneeling down while the other was taken lying down.  Have a close look at the two shots and you will immediately see which is the better image.  So next time you take a picture of anything that’s on the ground remember to get down low yourself.  It may be hard work but it’s always worth the effort.

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If you want to see more Sparrows you can find them in the Sparrows, Grosbeaks, Buntings and Finches Gallery

1 Comment

  1. Fox Sparrows are indeed a very pretty bird as your photographs so eloquently show and you have a posted a great background story on it.