"Stripes, Streaks, Bills, Crowns, and Colors"
There are many Sparrows out there. The best way to learn about Sparrows is to buy a good field guide. Beginners: ‘National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America’. More experienced: ‘Sibley’s Field Guide’. Another excellent book . . . ‘Peterson’s Field Guide’ (has arrows pointing at identifying marks of each specie). Whatever you need, there is a bird book out there just for you.
Sparrows are identified by stripes, streaks, crowns, bills, color, and of course, habitat. With most Sparrows, it’s just really hard to tell who’s who! Let me introduce you to the Lark Sparrow. This Sparrow has a distinctive Rufous head mask with white, and black streaks. The breast is almost white with a telltale dark spot. When in flight, it has a conspicuous white-cornered tail.
The Lark Sparrow is mainly seen in open spaces away from people. No doubt one will show up if you drive out on the Arizona Strip or to the open spaces on either side of Pinevalley Mountain. Both are great travel spots when the roads are good, dry and dusty. The same roads in winter can be rutted, wet, and impassable. If you take a trip to either area, be sure to tell a friend where you are going, take at least one spare tire, and plenty of water.
Brenda Rusnell is the Artist for the Lark Sparrow. Brenda gives a clear picture of the distinctive mask on the side of the face. Come along on our next Red Cliffs Audubon Field Trip to Pine Park, west of Enterprise. It is one of the many species we will look for Saturday, July 17, 2010. Meet at the BLM - 7:00 a.m. Bring your binoculars, a lunch and maybe something to share with the other birders. For more information, call 435 673-0996.