Those “Little Brown Jobs”

The present is full of opportunity. Never before in the history of the planet has mankind been given the privileges and opportunities that are at his disposal today.


World Sparrow Day March 20


What is the name of these Sparrows featured above?

The present is full of opportunity. Never before in the history of the planet has mankind been given the privileges and opportunities that are at his disposal today. A great light has been raised and is penetrating the darkness of the world, but alas,
too many with dust blinded eyes have yet to catch the vision. Some of us have. That is our privilege and our responsibility. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.

What do Harris’ Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Baird’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-coloured Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Lincoln’s Sparrow all have in common? These labels include all these species as sparrows celebrating World Sparrow Day March 20! These species of Aves belong to the sparrow family Passeridae; the true sparrows, or Old World sparrows. Passerines compared to other birds have a unique arrangement of their toes, three pointing forward and one back, which facilitates perching – giving rise to their name a perching birds.

“Sparrows are difficult for people to identify because they don’t look at sparrows very often and so they are out of practice when it comes to actually looking carefully at their markings. But when it comes to identifying sparrows, there are two traits to study closely: song, and facial plumage pattern.Mystery”  Which of these sparrows are common, and which are of special concern and which are threatened and on the verge of extinction? 1./ Learn. 2./ Experience 3./ Do Something: ***

The Harris Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) may be mistaken for a House Sparrow, though the House Sparrow has a black or yellow bill, and the Harris Sparrow sports a pink bill. The Harris Sparrow belongs to the genus Zonotrichia, a greek word whose etymology means zone = “band”, and thrix, trikhos = “hair.” Zonotrichia are part of the family Emberizidae in the order Passeriformes. The Harris has a much longer tail than a House Sparrow, and the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) has rufous (reddish-brown similar to rust) colouring on the wings and on the back, Both House Sparrows and Harris Sparrow have dark bibs, however the Harris Sparrow features black stripes below their bib. In the Saskatchewan prairies, Harris Sparrow also resemble White-throated Sparrow, and Song Sparrows. The Harris will breed in coniferous forests choosing spruce trees, and migrate through tallgrass prairies. The Harris will average a length of 17 to 20 cm (6.7 to 7.9 in), with a 27 cm (11 in) wingspan and weigh from 26 to 49 g (0.92 to 1.73 oz) with a tail length 7.6 to 8.8 cm (3.0 to 3.5 in). Compare this large sparrow to its smaller cousin, the House Sparrow 16 cm (6.3 in) long, weighing in at 24–39.5 g (0.85–1.39 oz) with a short tail tail 5.2–6.5 cm (2.0–2.6 in) long.

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is one of the easiest sparrows to identify with its distinctive black and white stripy head. Leucophrys derives from leukos, “white”, and ophrus, “eyebrow”. The White crowned sparrow, though distinctive with its black and white markings on the head, does indeed, have a white crown on the top of its head, in contrast with the white and black head of the Harris’s Sparrow which features a black crown, and white below, and does not look stripy at all.

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) has a delightful call, often related among bird watchers as Oh Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada. This is a very common sparrow, but its highest mortality rate is due to window collisions. The White-throated sparrow, is just that, white throated, no stripes, or colourations on its chest, and features a small bright white bib below its bill. The head sports distinctive white and black stripes, however the yellow patches above its bill separates this species from the White-crowned sparrow. The White-throated Sparrow weights in at 22–32 g, with a length 16–18 cm and wingspan 20–23 cm.

Red Fox Sparrow ( Passerella iliaca iliaca ) is another large sparrow commonly seen along the ground. This sparrow is 15–19 cm (6–7.5 inches) long, featuring a wingspan of 27 cm (10.5 inches) and an average weight of 32 grams (1.1 oz). It is the typical “little brown bird”.

Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) belongs to the order Passeriformes, and love to forage and breed along marsh edges. This sparrow features a solid coloured grey breast, with a rust or rufous cap and rusty wings. There is a dark stripe through the eye. The easiest way to tell if you are observing a Swamp Sparrow is to watch its tail, which it flicks from side to side all the time.

The savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) is a steaky brown bird, featuring a small yellow spot above the bill near the eye. They feature a white chest, with a stripy bib. The feathers fluff on top of the head to make a small peak. The average length is between 11 to 17 cm (4.3 to 6.7 in), featuring a wingspan from 18 to 25 cm (7.1 to 9.8 in) and a body mass at 15 to 29 g (0.53 to 1.02 oz). This bird can also be found along the ground or in low bushes. Generally, the Savannah sparrow is considered a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN.

Baird’s Sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) is in the Emberizidae of order Passeriformes. The Baird’s Sparrow has a length 12 cm and weigh in at 17-21 g and have a wingspan usually around 23 cm. Baird’s is somtimes confused with the Savannah sparrow however, the Savannah is much more streaked and features an extra white marking on its head. The Baird breeds and forages in the tallgrass prairies, and mixed grass prairies. The numbers of the Baird Sparrow are decreasing, and this is a concern to ornithologists as the Canadian prairies are the world’s most endangered ecosystem. Last Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada COSEWIC Designation of the Baird’s Sparrow was special concern. As the native prairie grassland disappears, then what will happen to the Baird’s Sparrow? It usually takes an experience bird watcher to identify a Baird’s Sparrow. Naturalists have found that populations of Baird’s Sparrow flourish after a controlled burn. Take time to learn the song and colour patterns of the Baird’s Sparrow “The Baird’s Sparrow is a secretive grassland sparrow, distinguished from other sparrows by “moustache” marks on its yellowish-ochre face, a necklace of thin streaks across its breast, and a song that usually ends in a wiry, musical trill. As a range-restricted species of the northern prairies, it is a valuable grassland indicator for that region. Species at risk

Vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) is a medium to large sparrow across the grassland prariries. It is unique as its song can often be heard in the golden hour of the day, early morning and in the vesper twilight hour at the end of day. It is another typical grayish brown bird, featuring a white eye-ring similar to that of a Robin. The Savannah Sparrow has a much shorter tail, and where the Savannah has a yellowish eye band, the Vesper does not. The Song Sparrow does not sport a distinctive white eye rings. There are four sub-species of Vesper Sparrows, and the Vesper Sparrow affinis subspecies is believed to be down to only five to ten pairs of birds.

American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) is one of the sparrows seen in the winter in the prairies. American Tree Sparrows have a rufous crown, stripy rufous back and wings, and also a rufous eye stripe. They sport a white chest with a small pale black spot. One of the main differences between an Amerian Tree Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow is the rufous eye strips in the American Tree Sparrow, and the Chipping has a black eyestripe. The American Tree Sparrow breeds in the arctic boreal zone, and will be seen migrating across the plains near forest edges and near marshes. The American Tree Sparrow typically weighs in at 18 to 26 g, and are about 14 to 16.5 cm long with a wingspan range from 21.6 to 24.8 cm.

Chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) are about 127 to 147 mm in length, and weigh in at 11 to 15.5 g. They will often be seen amid juncos, and clay-coloured sparrows. Chipping sparrows may perch atop a tree to survey their territory. A Chipping sparrow has pink legs and feet, and a black bill on top, with a pink or yellow under fill. They feature a black eye-stripe below a chestnut crown. Chipping sparrows have grey chest and rump with stripy wings sporting two broad white bands across them.

Clay-coloured sparrow (Spizella pallida) is one of the smaller sparrows, average length is 5.1–6 in (130–150 mm), weight 12 g (0.42 oz), wingspan 7.5 in (190 mm) and tail 62–68.4 mm (2.44–2.69 in). May often be seen perched on the tops of low growing thickets of brush and the nests are quite often within snowberry bushes. These little brown birds have a buff grey underbelly, with a gray colour encircling the entirety of its neck as a collar. The head and back or streaks of tan and black. A white stripe goes over its eye, and there is a small black moustache above the bill.

Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia) is a small brown bird of the family Emberizidae in the Passeriformes order. On average this sparrow is 11 to 18 cm (4.3 to 7.1 in) in length, with a wingspan can range from 18 to 25.4 cm (7.1 to 10.0 in), weighing in between 11.9 to 53 g (0.42 to 1.87 oz). Cornell Lab of Ornithology states that, “it’s one of the first species you should suspect if you see a streaky sparrow in an open, shrubby, or wet area.” Don’t confuse it with the Savannah Sparrow which has a yellow fleck on its face. The song sparrow is most common in brush areas and along marshes and a mix of the two is ideal. The song sparrow has a delightful mix of songs and melodies.

Lincoln’s Sparrow, (Melospiza lincolnii) loves to be around marshy areas, and dense thickets and is easy to spot with the streaks radiating all the way down its underbelly and no spot on the belly. It is the typical little brown job with a grayish, to brown stripy body much lighter in colour than the darker Song Sparrows. The bill of the Lincoln’s Sparrow is dark above, with a paler colour blow and featuring two rufous stripes through the crown.

As Jason Ward says, “Sparrows—or “little brown birds” (LBBs) as birders like to call them—are tricky like that. They’re always zooming in and out of bushes, confounding onlookers with their bland feathers and busy chatter…Tackling the common LBBs is a fun way to challenge yourself and sharpen your birding skills. With a little patience and a keen eye and ear, you will soon have your sparrows down to a science. Ward” For a little more assistance while walking along the wetlands and woodlands of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area just download these bird field guides to your phone; What bird on IPhone What bird on Android

The fate of an individual or a nation will always be determined by the degree of his or its harmony with the forces and laws of Nature and the universe. Man is not alone in the universe but is surrounded by sources of power, harmony and knowledge.
The fullness of life depends upon man’s harmony with the totality of the natural cosmic laws. Our individual evolution is a job that has to be carried on day by day by each individual himself. It is a lifelong task.” ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.


American Tree Sparrow All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology

American Tree Swallow Wikipedia.

American Tree Swallow Audubon Field Guide

American Tree Sparrow Bird web

American Tree Sparrow Feeder Watch

American Tree Sparrow What Bird

American Tree Sparrow Birds of North America.

American Tree Sparrow American Tree Sparrow Facts. National Geographic

American Tree Sparrow Kids inquiry of Diverse species, Spizella arborea, Amercian Tree Sparrow. BioKids

American Tree Sparrows in Winter. Wild Bird Video Productions.

Baird’s Sparrow Life History. All About Birds. Cornell Lab Of Ornithology

Baird’s Sparrow. What Bird

Baird’s Sparrow Audubon. US Fish and Wildlife Service

Baird’s Sparrow. Wikipedia.

Baird’s Sparrow. Audubon Field Guide

Birdist Rule #23 Identify Your First Song Sparrow Once you do, all of those other “little brown jobs” get a little less confusing. Audubon.

Chipping Sparrow National Geographic

Chipping Sparrow BioKids. Kid’s inquiry of Diverse species Spizella Passerina, chipping sparrow information.

Chipping Sparrow All about Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Chipping Sparrow Audubon Field Guides

Chipping Sparrow Wikpedia.

Chipping Sparrow Wild Bird Video Productions.

Clay-coloured Sparrow. All about Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Clay-coloured Sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Clay-coloured Sparrow Wikipedia

Clay-coloured Sparrow Whatbird

Clay Coloured Sparrow On identifying Chipping and Clay-coloured Sparrows. Sibley Guides

Clay Coloured Sparrow. Whatbird.

Clay Coloured Sparrow Singing You Tube Petroglyph 100

Bond, Larry. Fox Sparrow. You Tube

Chipping Sparrow bird web.

Fox Sparrow. Fox Sparrow pictures Fox Sparrow Facts. National Geographic

Fox Sparrow. Seattle Audubon Society

Fox Sparrow. Audubon Field Guide

Fox Sparrow. Bird Watcher’s Digest

Fox Sparrow All About Birds Cornell University.

Fox Sparrow Bird of North America Online Cornell University.

Fox Sparrow What bird

Harris’ Sparrow All About Birds Cornell University.

Harris Sparrow. Wikipedia.

Harris Sparrow What Bird. Mitch Waite Group. Percevia field guides.

Harris Sparrow. Audubon Field Guide. National Audubon Society

Langston, Erica. Why City Sparrows Are Singing A Very Different Tune Birds are belting their songs out at never-before-heard frequencies to beat the heavy noise around them. Audubon Field Guide. National Audubon Society

Lincoln’s sparrow Calls and sounds Lesley the Bird Nerd. You Tube video

Lincoln’s Sparrow. All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Lincoln’s Sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Lincoln’s Sparrow Wikipedia.

Lincoln’s Sparrow. Bird Web

Lincoln’s Sparrow Melospiza lincolnii ARKive.

Lincoln’s Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii. videos, photos and sound recordings. The internet bird collection. HBW Alive

Mystery bird: Clay-coloured Sparrow. Spizella Pallida Girl Scientist. Science The Guardian.

Savannah Sparrow All about birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Savannah Sparrow Wikipedia.

Stewart, Marilyn. Savannah Sparrow You

Savannah Sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Savannah Sparrow. You Tube

Song Sparrow All about birds. Cornell lab of ornithology

Song Sparrow wikipedia

Song sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Song Sparrow National Geographic

Song Sparrow Bird Web

Song Sparrow Wild Bird Watching.

Song Sparrow What

Song Sparrow Lang Elliot. You tube video

Stop birds hitting windows. Effective Window Solutions. American Bird Conservancy.

Swamp Sparrow Identification All about Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Swamp Sparrow Wikipedia.

Swamp Sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Swamp Sparrow video Wild Bird Video Productions.

Swamp Sparrow What bird.

Vesper Sparrow All About Birds. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Vesper Sparrow Wikipedia

Vesper Sparrow Audubon Field Guide

Vesper Sparrow Species at Risk Registry.

Vesper Sparrow What Bird

Vesper Sparrow Wild Bird Video Productions.

Ward, Jason. The biggest differences between song and savannah sparrows. Audubon Bird Identification Guide

White-crowned Sparrow All About Birds Cornell University.

White-Crowned Sparrow National Geographic

White-crowned sparrow. Wikipedia

White-crowned sparrow What Bird. Mitch Waite Group. Percevia field guides.

White Crowned Sparrow. Audubon Field Guide. National Audubon Society

White-throated Sparrow All About Birds Cornell University.

White-throated Sparrow Wikipedia.

Lang Elliott. White-throated Sparrow: Whistler of the North You Tube

White-throated Sparrow. National Geographic

White-throated Sparrow. American Bird Conservancy.

White-throated sparrow All About Birds Cornell University.

White-throated Sparrow Explore the Birds of North America. All About Birds Cornell University.

White-throated Sparrow. The National Bird Project. Canadian Geographic

Why Canada’s prairies are the world’s most endangered ecosystem Nature Conservancy of Canada.

For more information:

Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale inside of Saskatoon city limits

P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits

Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page:
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map

Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park

Facebook: StBarbeBaker

Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

Facebook: South West OLRA

Twitter: StBarbeBaker

Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)

Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT, or by using e-transfers  Please and thank you!  Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated.  Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!

QR Code FOR PAYPAL DONATIONS to the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.
Payment Options
Membership : $20.00 CAD – yearly
Membership with donation : $50.00 CAD
Membership with donation : $100.00 CAD


1./ Learn.

2./ Experience

3./ Do Something: ***

“I believed that God has lent us the Earth. It belongs as much to those who come after us as to us, and it ill behooves us by anything we do or neglect, to deprive them of benefits which are in our power to bequeath.” Richard St. Barbe Baker


Pinterest richardstbarbeb

Assemble yourself with wild things,
with songs of the sparrow and sea-foam.
Let mad beauty collect itself in your eyes
and it will shine – Calling me.
For I long for a man with nests of wild things in his hair.
A man who will Kiss the Flame.
– Jewel

Author: stbarbebaker

This website is about the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area - an urban regional park of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. The hosts are the stewards of the afforestation area. The afforestation area received its name in honour of the great humanitarian, Richard St. Barbe Baker. Richard St. Barbe Baker (9 October 1889 – 9 June 1982) was an English forester, environmental activist and author, who contributed greatly to worldwide reforestation efforts. As a leader, he founded an organization, Men of the Trees, still active today, whose many chapters carry out reforestation internationally. {Wikipedia} Email is StBarbeBaker AT to reach the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area

8 thoughts on “Those “Little Brown Jobs””

    1. LOL Yes, the little domesticated house sparrow, is not really found in the woodlands of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, nor the Afforestation Area formerly known as George Genereux Park as they congregate around bird feeders in town and around buildings. This article tried to focus on those sparrows of woodland, tall and mixed grass prairie, and marsh ~ the West Swale wetlands. The sparrows are truly fascinating, and quite a lot of variety to find.


  1. Wow – This is a super helpful post for me – I’m a lifelong bird lover, but really struggle with “the little brown birds” as I have always called them. I will bookmark this so I can refer to it – Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: