Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Elly and I added a bird to our life list this evening, a Lincoln’s Sparrow, bringing the total to 90 (a pitiful number in the eyes of seasoned birders I’m afraid, but there it is). We noticed the elegant little visitor foraging for seeds on our gravel walkway, and I managed to get some pictures of him. Her? It was just a bit smaller than several dark-eyed juncos who were also frequenting the area.

Seeing a new bird is fun, especially so when we find it in our own backyard. We have had a run of luck in the last few weeks, seeing Great-Tailed grackles for the first time. Then seeing a ruby-crowned kinglet, which we have observed before but not in our own yard. And then this fine bird. The Lincoln’s sparrow was named by Audubon in honor of Thomas Lincoln, who was a friend of his, as well as being the father of Abraham Lincoln.

The pictures don’t do it justice, actually. Many of the American sparrows are beautiful little birds, far different from the common House sparrows, which aren’t even native to the Americas (European imports), and aren’t actually related to our own sparrows. Nevertheless, they are what most people think of as sparrows. The Lincoln’s sparrow who visited us was a treat, and stayed around for an obligingly long time to have his picture taken and be carefully studied. These sparrows are said to be secretive birds and somewhat rare migrants in Missouri.

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