Baker’s Dozen of Sparrows

When I started looking at birds on my property, I didn’t really think about keeping tabs on them all. Heck. I actually only really thought there were the common birds like Cardinals, Robins and Sparrows that lived in this part of the world. When our first Bluebird couple moved into a nest box, I was thrilled. That was a “special” bird to me.

As I came to know many other species, I also began to realize that there is more than one kind of sparrow. In fact, I have observed thirteen (fourteen if you count the invasive House Sparrow )on our land (in central Illinois).

The most recent species that I filmed is the Lincoln Sparrow. This bird only migrates through the area, so I feel very fortunate to have seen it, and also to get some decent shots of of him. It’s not always easy to identify one sparrow species from the other. I have been fooled many times due to my utter lack of experience in identifying birds.

I am sure there are many of the long-time Birders who want to tell me how to become a better Birder. If only Tammie would read up on how to discern the “field marks” like wing bars or variations within a species like juvenile versions of the adults. In response I would say that twice in my life I have turned hobbies into professions. Both times, I regretted it not because I wasn’t happy doing the work, but because I lost that sense of “leisure pursuit.” It became all too serious. In fact, looking back on my life I suspect I have been far too serious more than I have ever been too unrestrained.

I would rather feel whimsy and be perceived as feeble to those who pursue their craft with determined intent. And, that is NOT to say that I do not relish the level of their passion and their expertise. I wholly respect it. However, I – as I enjoy discovering all that this postage stamp piece of nature offers me – am content knowing that I was able to single-handedly identify this Lincoln Sparrow – even though at first I figured it was probably just another Song Sparrow, and there’s a hint of worry I will hear that I have been wrong again. The thing about birds – it keeps a person humble.

This Lincoln Sparrow hopped up from the weedy ground to a low branch of an apple tree at the end of the corridor. He remained as my model for many minutes. And, since I may never seen another, I’m posted a variety of shots of this cutie.

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