July 21, 2015 – Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)

Requested by: Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff

Found throughout North America, these sparrows breed in Canada and the northwestern United States and winter mostly in the southern and eastern United States. There are four main varieties, “Red,” found in northern North America, “Sooty,” along the Pacific Coast, “Slate-colored,” in the mountains of the Interior West, and “Thick-billed,” in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Foraging on the ground, they eat insects, as well as seeds, fruits, and buds from a variety of plants. Like many other sparrows and towhees they “double-scratch,” hopping forward and back quickly, to find their prey. They nest on or near the ground, using various plant materials, lichens, fur, feathers and sometimes fishing line.