June 21, 2016 – Bell’s Sparrow (Artemisiospiza belli)
Found in sagebrush, chaparral, and other scrubby, open habitats of California and western Arizona, these birds and the Sagebrush Sparrow were previously considered the same species. First known as Bell’s Sparrows, then split into two species, they were lumped again as the Sage Sparrow in the 1950s, before being split once again. They eat seeds, insects, spiders, small fruits, and vegetation in the breeding season and mostly grass and other plant seeds in the non-breeding season, foraging mostly on the ground. Females build open cup nests in or under shrubs, from twigs and grasses, lining them with fine grasses, thin bark, feathers, wool, and hair.
March 22, 2016 – Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)
Requested by: @thefireinthewire
These sparrows are found throughout the United States and Mexico and into parts of Central America and the Caribbean. They eat seeds, especially from grasses, as well as insects during the breeding season, and sometimes small fruits. Females build loose cup-shaped nests from rootlets and dried grass, lined with hair and plant fibers. Males guard the females while they build, but do not help with the construction. Outside of the breeding season Chipping Sparrows form flocks of a few dozen birds to forage in grassy areas and at bird feeders.
December 16, 2015 – Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)
Requested by: @thesealistheswornenemyofman
This large sparrow is found in the far west of North America From southern California to Alaska. Their diet is highly varied, including many seeds, grains, fruits, buds, and insects. They spend most of their time foraging on the ground alone or in small flocks. Monogamous pairs build nests in small breeding territories defended by the males. These nests are most often constructed on the ground and disguised with ferns, grass, and overhanging branches.
November 15, 2015 – Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) Oregon form
Requested by: indigoriffraff
These sparrows breed in coniferous and deciduous forests throughout North America and are often found in open woodlands, parks, gardens, and fields the rest of the year. They eat mostly seeds and some insects, hopping, pecking, and scratching while foraging on the ground. Females select nest locations and build the nests, weaving them from materials such as grasses, pine needles, twigs, ferns, moss, leaves, hair, and rootlets. While there are 15 recognized color variations of these birds, the “Oregon” form (shown) is found through much of the western United States.
Also see the “slate-colored” Dark-eyed Junco: http://birdstudies.net/post/104781875194/november-24-2014-dark-eyed-junco-junco
September 19, 2015 – House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Requested by: my dad
Native to Eurasia, these sparrows have been introduced to the Americas, Africa, and Australia and are now one of the world’s most widespread bird species. They live in a variety of habitats, but almost always near humans. Their diet is mostly seeds and grains, along with some insects in the summer. In cities they also eat food discarded by humans. Often building their nests in crevices in buildings or other structures, they also sometimes use tree hollows or cliffs. House Sparrows have been part of thousands of scientific studies as they are common, easy to raise, and relatively unafraid of humans.
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.
February 15, 2015 – Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata)
These sparrows are found in desert areas of the southwestern United States and Mexico. They eat insects, seeds, and fruits, relying more on plant foods in the winter and insects in the summer. They are able to survive without drinking water for long periods, getting enough moisture from the insects and seeds they eat, except during the hottest times of year. Males defend large territories during the breeding season until the females begin incubation of the eggs, when they become less territorial. Both parents feed the chicks.