Update....Dec. 30th....He's back!
Please click on picture to enlarge it. This little chubby Fox Sparrow arrived at our feeder this morning,very early. I couldn't identify him for sure....so I got out our bird books and started the hunt. Two bird books, two pairs of binoculars, two people looking. I thought that he looked similar to a Thrush...he had similar markings. He wouldn't cooperate and get out of the feeder, so I could see his tail. I got him to move and hoped he would come back and sit in a different position. He did as I hoped and we found that he had a rufous colored tail. Finally after checking Google and verifying the information with Roger Tory Peterson....I decided that he was a Fox Sparrow. I clicked on a picture on the internet and put him on my desktop. All this time spent on a sparrow you say? I love the birds that are here during the winter...they suffer through the coldest of days like we do.They don't "fly off"to Florida...we don't either. They just dig in their little birdie heels and deal with what Mother Nature hands them. This chubby little guy is an infrequent visitor to our home. I've seen them before, but not at the feeder...always scratching on the ground. A large, boldly striped sparrow of scrubby boreal forest and mountain chaparral, the Fox Sparrow is most familiar as a migrant or wintering bird. Its vigorous "double-scratching," kicking backward in ground litter with both feet to uncover food, often draws attention to its presence under a bird feeder. He was on the feeder doing his little dance to stir up seed. He is the chubbiest of sparrows. The streaks on his breast make a chevron pattern all coming together in a large dark spot. He was the boss at the feeder at first. He darted around and chased other birds away. Later in the morning he shared (good boy) with the sparrows and juncos a cardinal or two. A woodpecker was on the suet feeder. He paid no attention. He kept to his little piggy eating....never hesitating.. just filling his tummy. I wonder if birds can predict a cold night coming? If so, this chubby friend of mine will make it through our very cold night just fine. He is still there at 4pm... a lonely bird on the feeder. I wrote this at 4pm and I will keep an eye on him as it gets dark. Tonight, when I go to bed...I'll say a little prayer for all the little creatures who are keeping me company this winter. I wonder if he'll be back tomorrow?
For more about the Fox Sparrow check out http://stokesbirdingblog.blogspot.com/ Their pictures are wonderful.
The Fox Sparrow by Balisha
A chubby little birdie was visiting our yard..
We were checking on his name...it was so very hard.
A spotted breast, a rusty tail, and dancing to and fro..
He scattered seed for juncos.. eating down below.
We looked and looked and searched some more and made it like a game..
When all at once we saw the picture and finally knew your name.
Fox Sparrow it was written there in chapter 22..
We could relax, forget the book, and finally just watch you.
You stayed with us for hours just filling your small tummy..
Eating seeds and nuts..to you it was so yummy.
You disappeared when darkness came and flew across the yard..
You kept us company all day through and now it was so hard.
I walked across the snowy deck and filled the hanging tray..
In hopes that in the morning you'd come again I prayed.
Please God take care of creatures like this gentle little bird..
I'll keep them fed and healthy on this you have my word.
So, come again my little friend and entertain us so..
By eating seed and do your dance by hopping to and fro.