For the Birds: Fox sparrows back in force

Photo by Chris Bosak
A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.

Here is the latest For the Birds column: 

Last week I wrote about winter finches and how birds that aren’t even finches can easily be lumped into that broad category.

I mentioned a few examples and, of course, as soon as I hit the “send” button, an example that I failed to mention showed up in my backyard. It was a fox sparrow. Well, more specifically, two fox sparrows.

Fox sparrows aren’t finches, naturally, they are sparrows, just as their name suggests. But because they are small (relative to all birds) and show up at feeders throughout New England sporadically during certain winters, I think they can be mentioned under the very broad and nonspecific category of winter finches.

Winter finches, just to review quickly, are the northern birds that show up at New England feeders some winters, only to not be seen again for several years. Pine siskin is the prime example and this year seems to be another good year for siskins. Continue reading

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More fox sparrow/snow photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
As an addendum to my last post, here are some more photos of the fox sparrows that are visiting my yard today following a snow and ice storm.  Later today or tomorrow, I’ll add some photos of the goldfinches that are visiting today. There are lots of them. 
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow and junco eat sunflower seeds following an ice storm in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow perches on the snow in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.

First snow brings fox sparrows

Photo by Chris Bosak A fox sparrow eats sunflower seeds from the ground during an ice storm in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 16, 2018.

Southern New England got its first snow of the season on Thursday evening, a bit earlier than usual on Nov. 15. At some point overnight, the snow gave way to a snow/freezing rain mixture. The four or five inches of snow that fell now has a hard layer of ice on top. 

The harsh weather brought in a pair of unexpected, but welcomed, visitors: fox sparrows. The large sparrows, which are also a bit more colorful than the usual sparrows in New England, show up sporadically throughout the region, mostly during the winter. With strange weather gripping the region, keep an eye out for unexpected visitors at your feeder stations. Let me know what you see by commenting on this post.