Creature Feature: Fox Sparrow

This week we’ll take a look at a bird many of you have probably seen or heard–the Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca). These large sparrows are common in Humboldt during the winter months, and can be seen foraging on the ground under shrubs and thickets. As spring approaches, they will start to migrate to warmer inland climates to nest and raise their young.
 
Their characteristic brown spotted chest and chocolate-brown head and back makes them easy to identify. Even if you haven’t seen a Fox Sparrow, you’ve probably heard one. Their calls consist of short, high pitched “cheeps”–this is the noise you’ll hear if you’re getting too close to a Fox Sparrow nest! Because these birds feed on the ground, they can be particularly vulnerable to house cats. So if you see a Fox Sparrow take up residence in your yard, keep an eye on kitty!
 
Photo: _Veit_ on Flickr
Sources: allaboutbirds.org