FIELD SPARROW

FIELD SPARROW(Spizella pusilla) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Field Sparrow adult is medium brown with darker streaks on top and white belly. The face is grey and the flanks grey-beige. There is a grey line starting above the eye and extending down the nape. There are two white wing bars. Eyes are black with a white eye ring. Bill is conical and pink. Legs and feet are pinkish. Bird length is about 12 cm (5 inches).
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Spizella-pusilla
NAME: ‘Sparrow’ derives from Anglo-Saxon ‘Spearwa’, which means ‘flutterer’, and this name has been applied to many small birds (Choate). ‘Field’ in the English name refers to the bird’s habitat. Latin genus name ‘Spizella’ means ‘little finch’. Latin species name ‘pusilla’ means ‘smallest’.
HABITAT: Open country (forest edges, pastures, scrub land, shrubs around marshes), but not fields in spite of its name.
DIET: Insects, spiders, seeds.
NESTING: Nest is built on or near the ground. Between two and five light blue eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents. Nest is abandoned when parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbird.
DISTRIBUTION: Breeds in northeast half of the USA, southern Ontario and a small area of southern Quebec; winters in southeast half of the USA. Year-round resident between these two regions.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_sparrow – /media/File:Spizella_pusilla_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Population still widespread and large in spite of a steady decline over last few decades.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: American Tree Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow
REFERENCES: http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPBX94050 (Montana Field Guide)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/field-sparrow
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Spizella_pusilla/ (University of Michigan)
https://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/field-sparrow/ (Texas Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=FISP&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)

Field Sparrow close up - Lexiington, KY - Oct. 2008 - photo by PookieFugglestein
Field Sparrow close up – Lexiington, KY – Oct. 2008 – photo by PookieFugglestein
Field Sparrow, front view - Conestee, SC - Nov. 2014 - photo by Don Faulkner
Field Sparrow, front view – Conestee, SC – Nov. 2014 – photo by Don Faulkner
Field Sparrow - Caondelet Park, MO - Mar. 2017 - photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren
Field Sparrow – Caondelet Park, MO – Mar. 2017 – photo by Andy Reago and Chrissy McClarren

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