What, now, about these sparrows, which are which?
“I believe that this generation will either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilized world or it will be the first to have a vision, a daring and a greatness to say:
“I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life. I will play no part in this devastation of this land. I am destined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and of the generations of tomorrow. ~Richard St. Barbe Baker.
So when might you see a sparrow, or little brown bird? As the Nature Study Publishing Company aptly relates; “Of all animated nature, birds are the most beautiful in coloring, most graceful in form and action, swiftest in motion and most perfect emblems of freedom. They are withal, very intelligent and have many remarkable traits, so that their habits and characteristics make a delightful study for all lovers of nature. ”
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) is seen in a migratory pattern, watch for the Lincoln’s Sparrow in late April to the end of May, and again mainly in September. There are sightings in August and October as well, though one may be luckier in early May and September.
The Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), another migratory sparrow, arrives in May and can be spotted throughout this month. Again, keep a look out in September and early October.
The American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea) is another little brown job more commonly seen in a migratory pattern, with the majority of sightings in March through May, and again in September and October, though the rare sighting occurs in February, throughout the summer, and between October to December.
Fox Sparrows ( Passerella iliaca ) are another migratory bird through this area. Watch for this little brown bird between April and beginning of May, and again in September and early October. There may be the occasional sighting in July or August.
Baird’s sparrow (Ammodramus bairdii) is seen through April and August, with the best of luck in August.
The Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)i is similarly seen through April and mid-August.
LeConte’s Sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii) is most commonly sighted as well through April all they way to July, however a few folks record seeing them in August and September.
Nelson’s Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) can be seen mid May to middle of August, with the rare sighting occuring in September.
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) is another summer arrival coming in May and seen throughout June as well. The sightings taper off between July to rarely seen in November, and never seen across the winter months.
The Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Lincoln’s Sparrow arrive in the spring, stick around all summer, and leave in the fall. Look for the Vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) as early as late April, with the majority of the Vesper Sparrows arriving in May, sightings trail off in late August through October. The Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) will arrive in very late April, and again the main sightings are between May and August. Sightings of the Savannah Sparrow trail off in September and October, though rare sightings occur in December. The Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) arrives earlier, beginning of April, and ornitholgists can see the Song Sparrow through the fall, with sightings trailing off in October, and none after this till next spring.
Clay-coloured Sparrow (Spizella pallida) is very similar, arriving In May, and also seen heavily through June and early July, with sightings tapering off through the summer and early fall, with rare sightings occurring in November, and none in the winter months.
The Harris’ Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) is easiest to sight end of April, beginning of May, and again there are regular sightings in starting end of August, and through September and October. A few avid bird watchers have found the Harris’ Sparrow end of February, and beginning of July.
One has to be a most excellent bird watcher to catch a glimpse of a Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla) , which may occur at the end of July, beginning of August.
Brewer’s Sparrow (Spizella breweri) also require a bird watcher of some skill, and sightings are best around the middle of May.
The White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is easiest to spot end of April and beginning of May, and again in September and October. There are regular sightings of the White-crowned sparrow between January to May, and the occasional sighting at the beginning of July.
The White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), is mainly seen end of April through May, with the occasional sighting through the summer months. Again bird watchers find this little brown job in September and October, with a few stragglers sticking around November through February.
The Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) is much harder to spot with minimal sightings, keep your eyes open in May.
From sights we pass to the consideration of sounds, and it is unfortunate that the two subjects have to be treated consecutively instead of together, since with birds they are more intimately joined than in any other order of beings; and in images of bird life at its best they sometimes cannot be dissociated;—the aërial form of the creature, its harmonious, delicate tints, and its grace of motion; and the voice, which, loud or low, is aërial too, in harmony with the form. So as you wander the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, or the Afforestation Area formerly known as George Genereux Park, please try to sight a sparrow, or perhaps, with a small bit of delight try to hear a sparrow. Compare the language, the shrill, the chirp, or the musical tune. Each has a melody unique to its own kind.
Do you not have the curiosity to know the songs of the marsh and woodlands? The story that is told from winter visitors, migrants, the summer breeders, and is there a season when the woodlands are silent? So pop out during the months outlined above, and see when the voices burst out altogether, hear the spring calls marking out the territory, the voices singing one to another. Which melodies are mysterious, and which are persistent? What is the charm which you find in nature? Find what happiness the ornithologist may derive from these shy creatures, very small and private, which fly from hikers when approached. Can you say that the pleasure of seeing and hearing them was purer, and much more lasting than pleasures of excitement. Can you picture the loveliness, the sunlit colours, and the grace of form motion, and melody which the brief glance into this world sends forth?
We know that as with sights so it is with sounds: those to which we listen attentively, appreciatively, or in any way emotionally, live in the mind, to be recalled and reheard at will.
The clouds are my family.
When you cannot find me,
it is because my sisters
and brothers have called me.
We are singing circles of prayers
about the earth…
Additional Links about Sparrows:
A sparrow (two photographs) and more on sharp photographs. Victor Rakmil.
Beautiful Sparrow. Michael Powell.
Bird count reports Saskatoon Nature Society.
Birding News. American Birding Association. Saskatchewan Bird news by Date. Easily find posts which mention American Birding Association rare birds.
Chipping Sparrow – Spizella passerina. Midwestern Plant Girl, Midwestern Plants.
Harris’s Sparrow Words from Aneli
Hummer and Sparrow. RV John
Marcotee, Amanda. 12-year-old birder spots rare bird in Saskatchewan. Eurasian Tree Sparrow rarely spotted in the province CBC News. May 19, 2015
Nature Saskatchewan: Bird Checklist Saskatchewan.
Regina Backyard Birds: Finches, Sparrows, Siskins. April 28, 2015. Prairie Nature Blogspot.
Saskatchewan. Bird Watching Resources for Bird Watching by Fatbirder. Fatbirder – linking birders worldwide… Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND
Saskatchewan Birds. Nature and Scenery. Saskatchewan Birds and Nature. Nick Saunders.
Song Sparrow. Seattle Park Lover, Park Review.
Sparrow Fledglings. A Fairy mind, The storyteller’s abode
Sparrow Cheatsheet. Textile Ranger, Little Wild Streak.
Sparrow Highrise. Always Backroads Donna Catterick
Stand out sparrow. Tildy 1, the beespeak.
Sutter, Glen. Sparrows – Native Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Centre. University of Regina 2006.
White crowned Sparrow Notes in nature.
White throated Sparrow GXC Trails
Wordless Wednesday: American Tree Sparrow. Leslie, Under my Apple Tree.
For more information:
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb