There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fox Sparrow

Passerella iliaca

  • Large sparrow
  • Dark brown upperparts
  • Pale underparts, heavily marked by dark triangular spots
  • Two-tone bill - upper dark, lower yellow
Listen to its call. I frequently see these birds scratching away at fallen leaves or under bushes, foraging for food. You'd think they were the size of a fox by the racket they make. Obviously they don't get their name from being sneaky or sly. However, their constant movement makes them tricky to photograph.

This is the sooty variety of Fox Sparrow. There are three other sub-species, each occupying a different geographical region. Here's an interesting fact for you. The Fox Sparrow gets its name from the rufous-red plumage of the Eastern variety, which is the same colour as a fox.

Learn more about the Fox Sparrow.

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