SPARROWS

These are wonderful songbirds found in fields and forests. 
Some are very distinctively marked, but many are very difficult to identify!

Chipping Sparrow (Seen in The Woodlands, TX)

 

In breeding plumage, the chipping sparrow is easy to identify:  brown above, gray below, with gray nape, chestnut crown.  A black line through the eye, under a wide eyebrow stripe.

Lark Sparrow
As with most sparrows, both sexes of the lark sparrow look the same, and what a handsome bird this is! They love to sing, and (according to Tveten) "the habit of flying up to sing, larklike, on the wing accounts for this handsome sparrow's common name.

They have bright chestnut ear-patches, chestnut crown-stripes, and a black-and-white face. The brown upperparts are heavily streaked; their chest has no markings except a black breast spot.

Song Sparrow
 
Unfortunately, the song sparrow doesn't stay in Texas to breed, so we miss the song of "the unchallenged virtuoso of the sparrow clan."

The song sparrow has a long, rounded tail, grayish brown upperparts streaked with black. The heavy streaking on the light sides and breast merges into a prominent central breast spot. He also has broad grayish eyebrows and dark whisker marks bordering the white throat.

Olive Sparrow
 
Olive Sparrow - A Mexican bird, common only in the southernmost part of Texas.  
Savannah Sparrow

Notice the spotted chest, the pink legs and the yellow over this little bird's eye.

White-crowned Sparrow

 

Swamp Sparrow
House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is not related to our native sparrows! It belongs to a family of "Old World" birds with thicker bills, shorter legs. This sparrow was introduced to the United States in 1850, and has overrun towns everywhere! (Because they were known to eat caterpillars in England, 8 pairs were released in Brooklyn to fight cankerworms. These didn't survive, but 100 more were imported in 1852.) Unlike most birds, this sparrow is always near human habitation, depending on people for food and shelter. They are known for destroying other birds' eggs or nestlings, competing with bluebirds, purple martins and tree swallows for habitat.