Friday, October 29, 2010

Fox Sparrow In My Yard

Yard Bird!   Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca), apparently of the iliaca group, meaning of the Red and/or Eastern subspecies

 It ate seeds all day with the juncos, sparrows, doves and grackles.  In the very latest afternoon, I saw it at the back of my garden in shrubs whose leaves have not yet fallen.  It was searching the leaves as if looking for insects.  It also flew down to the ground below, did a bit of scratching, ate some snow, and flew back up into the shrubs.

  • The Fox Sparrow is much larger than other sparrows.
  • They scratch in leaves for insects and seeds and often make so much noise that they sound like a much larger animal.
  • Adults are known to perform a broken-wing display to lure potential threats away from the nest.
  • A group of Fox Sparrows are collectively known as a "den", "flock", and "slyness" of sparrows. (

It's a bit late in the year to be seeing this species here.  These sparrows only migrate through my area so are very infrequent visitors.  My neighbour (and cousin) Larry had one in his yard a couple years ago (envy).  That was in the Spring.   


  1. Congrats Kathy. A great yard bird for this time of year !

  2. Thanks, Nick.

    Brenda, it's becoming one of mine too. My year for seeing them.