Today is a busy day indeed. It is International Day of Happiness, March 20! And why should we be happy? Well spring arrives today! And hasn’t the weather been amazing warming up so delightfully.
And today is also World Sparrow Day! That is another thing to be happy about for sure.
Chorong Song et al says in Psychological Benefits of Walking through Forest Areas “The psychological benefits of walking through forests are very significant, and forest environments are expected to have very important roles in promoting mental health in the future.” Besides this impact on our health, Q Li et al in their article Visiting a forest, but not a city, increases human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins mentions how forests can boost our immune systems.
Lindsay Baker of the BBC recounts German poet and philosopher Herman Hesse, who writes in his book Trees: Reflections and Poems, “Trees are sanctuaries. When we have learned to listen to trees… that is home. That is happiness.”
So today, celebrate International Day of Happiness, and count your many blessings as you walk in the forest boosting your immune system. This year’s theme proclaimed by the United Nations is #HAPPINESSFORALLFOREVER Isn’t that an amazing proclamation? Use these hashtags, and tell everyone that today is International Day of Happiness! #happinessforallforever, #tenbillionhappy, #internationaldayofhappiness, #happinessday, #choosehappiness, #createhappiness, or #makeithappy
As the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas speaks to the semi wilderness wildlife habitat out at the 326 acre Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the 148 acre George Genereux Urban Regional Park, you may be interested in Seedy Saturdays, and how to garden for wildlife or any of the other online webinars being offered this spring
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.
For our Tale It Outside WinterStaycation Challenges, can you tell us something else that sparrows and frogs have in common? Email us to let us in on the little secret! This is another one of those baffling and mystifying challenges!!! Can you rise to this challenge? Is there something, indeed, which sparrows and frogs have in common…Hmmmmm? Let us know!!! Remember to capture your sighting with a photograph on iNaturalist. Download the iNaturalist.pdf pamphlet
“Sparrows were an interesting bird. They had dialects unique to each region they inhabited. If Waterton had a sound, it was the lonely sparrow, keening for its mate. The trill was peaceful, but melancholy.”
Frogs love to stay in the swamps; let’s save them by saving their habitats –Source
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 speciesby 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 IPhoneWhat 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.
Please help protect / enhance 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 gmail.com, 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!
“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger
“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nation saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker.
Nature is man’s teacher.
She unfolds her treasure to his search,
unseals his eye, illumes his mind,
and purifies his heart;
an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds
of her existence. Alfred Billings Street
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.