Who you calling ugly? Throwin’ some love to Sparrows

Cassin's Sparrow

The “plain” Cassin’s Sparrow. That’s alright little guy, don’t let them get you down with those kinds of harsh words. You “plain” sparrows DO have some fans.

I had another great time birding south of Tucson today, with some great looks and photos of some truly gorgeous, colorful birds. It was a 5 hummingbird species day, and with the ever present Tucson sun, I got some very colorful photos of male hummingbirds with their gorget “lit up”. I had great looks (but not so great photos) of a Painted Redstarts, one of the most brilliantly colored birds you can find. I had a Red-napped Sapsucker feeding right in front of me in a bush full of bright red berries, with bird itself flashing its complex color pattern.

With all those colorful birds…why am I posting photos of a couple of sparrows? I’ve said it before…I DIG sparrows!! They may not have the splashy colors of other birds but the variety, and yes, subtle beauty of sparrows is outstanding. In the Southwest there are a number of sparrows I haven’t seen or photographed before, so despite all the gorgeous colorful birds flitting around, I’ve been targeting a few sparrows missing from my “list”.

Rufous-winged Sparrow

Another “plain” sparrow, this one a Rufous-winged Sparrow. I think he’s a handsome fellow, with the bright rufous shoulder patch and that crown.

It’s not an ideal time for some of them, as they’ve already moved to different areas for the winter, but there is still a wonderful variety of sparrows here at the moment. One of those that is supposed to have largely moved on from here by now is the Cassin’s Sparrow (top photo). In a lot of birding guides they’re described as “plain” birds. I beg to differ! Buck up little buddy, I think you’re gorgeous! It must get depressing when people, even birders, pass you by and scoff at the “little brown job” of a sparrow, without trying (or caring) to even try and identify what kind of sparrow.

The second bird is a Rufous-winged Sparrow, so named for the little reddish-brown patch you see on his shoulder. They are a quite common species around here, but given their proclivity for hiding in grass and shrubs, they’re not one I’ve gotten great looks at before, and not one I had photographed. It was nice to have one pop out into the open for a bit.

Throwing some love your way, sparrows! One more day to bird, and hopefully I can find some more of your kind.

What are your thoughts? Comment here!

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