The Song Does Not Remain the Same

Well, I was supposed to get this post out last night. Clearly, that didn’t happen ironically due to completely losing track of time while I was banging away on the skins -eh, more like Kevlar mesh on my electronic drum set. Second only to running, one of the few things I enjoy sweating my ass doing for hours and hours. A great way to log some cardio and eliminate all your stress – win win in by book. Why the irony? Yesterday’s post intended to feature the patron bird of every band.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Yep, that’s the Song Sparrow! Somehow managed to get 10 posts out in July between the wild side here and the mothership blowing my self-imposed 6 posts a month goal right out of the water. Long live being a slave to the grind ha. Guessing you might not have noticed, but I’ve been featuring pretty much fresh content – as in shots taken this year – almost exclusively. Still means the backlog is growing older and older, but at least trying to stay on top of the new stuff (which I’ve barely even begun to scratch thanks to the Texas and then the Alabama Gulf Shores trips). Wanted to go a bit deeper into the queue and pop a few of those off while up for the month – that was the plan.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Hit the jump to read more about our musical friend.

Decided to go ahead and start the new month off with the rather drab Song Sparrow and see if I can’t build more color as the month progresses. Should be easy based on the number of new Warblers that can’t wait to be featured. This series of shots was taken a little more than two years ago in June of 2019. A happier time for sure as we were fairly oblivious as to what was going to hit us in the coming months. It was a rather typical summer spent birding the various state parks. Our featured specimen comes to you from Chain O’ Lakes State Park up near Spring Grove, IL.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

With all the fields, brush and lake edges you have amble opportunity to tin one of these creatures at that park. Their drab colors can make it difficult to see at first, however, their sweet songs will clue you in to their whereabouts. The Song Sparrow has a long phrased song (2-6) that usually ends with a trill. Their patterns can fluctuate in tone, pitch and length. Listen for that final twill and then start checking off additional field markings to confirm it – these Sparrows can be a pain in the ass to ID so try to get as many angles as you can with special attention to the chest and side profile of the head.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Still might be a struggle to get a clear shot at them as they have an uncanny (if not devious) ability to keep a leaf or a branch between them and your glass. I find you can wait them out and their urge to explore their surroundings will get the better of them as they leap to the next stray branch or twig they spot.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Speaking of “spot”, that is one of the additional characteristics that help distinguish this species from the rest of the little brown jobbers. The course streaking on their breast will often converge into a darker spot on their chest. Note the American Tree Sparrow has a large regional range that overlaps with the Song and they also have a spot on their chest. These two species can be distinguished in the field by noting the streaking on the Song breast which is not present on the Tree.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

From there you pretty have to play the sleuth game and try to distinguish the differing head patterns on the numerous Sparrows. I do have a cheat sheet that helps me get the more easily distinguishable characteristics checked off. My best advice is fill your tin with whatever shots you can get and do the ID work in the digital darkroom. Sometimes you just have to toss it in the “LBJ” file and simply admire it as just a bird – especially if you find yourself staring at a juvenile Sparrow.

Song Sparrow found at Chain O' Lakes State Park in June 2019

Fortunately, this one was pretty easy aided by the song and definitely the streaked chest with the spot. I did line up the head profile just to make sure and that provided the final confirmation.

Hope you enjoyed our musically themed bird today. Not the most exciting bird to look at for sure. What it lacks in flamboyance it makes up in regional expanse. If you live in the contiguous US or most of Canada then you are in range – except for a small spot along the South and North Dakota border. Not sure what is up with that beyond maybe they hate fiddles which happens to be South Dakota’s official state musical instrument since 1989. Before you ask, I have no idea what the official instrument of North Dakota is or for any other state for that matter. Wait, I think Illinois’ might be the harmonica in honor of all the jailed politicians we have in this broke state.

25 thoughts on “The Song Does Not Remain the Same”

    1. Interesting, always considered these LBJs to be boring with the exception of the few that have some yellow on them or at least a white strip of some sort. Looks like I need to reset my drab level with the next post. Things have been pretty normal in these parts with regards to the pandemic – sure there are the rampant lies and propaganda about Delta in a weak attempt to get more people vaccinated, but everyone here is completely ignoring that crap and living out their normal lives with the common sense safety protocols – safe distance, washing hands etc.. Not sure what your numbers look like, but it is now officially statistically safer for a vaccinated person to be in a crowd than it is for them to drive to the grocery store.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No lies and propaganda here about what Delta has done, the figures speak for themselves. Luckily (?) those affected were mostly the young and sort of fit. 73% of our adult population are now fully jabbed and that’s still rising. Looks like we’ve peaked but me and Mrs H are still not taking chances and keeping well clear of people we don’t know.
        Take it easy B and both of you keep safe.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, not one, but TWO LBJ connoisseurs. As I mentioned above, I will have to readjust my drab level in the next post. I will give credit to the Sparrows with yellow highlights and the occasional white stripes as that really pops against the greys and browns – also gives you something more to identify them with ha! Appreciate you checking in Cherie!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Less of struggle with the birds stature as it was trying to get somewhat of a clean shot at it. Takes a bit to get the Beast on point (handholding at least) and that extra second simply gave it time to find the next perch (equally shielded from me of course). As Dori says, “just keep firing” (or something close to that hehehehe). Thanks for heading over here Brad.

      Like

    1. Okay, that makes THREE Sparrow supporters. Clearly missing something here or maybe I’ve dulled everyone’s senses and just need to kick up the featured creatures and spotlight the more flamboyant ones. Will keep this in mind as I progress through the rest of this month. As always, appreciate you coming by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the few movies I’ve seen. I don’t have TV and it’s been a couple of years since the last time we took the time to watch a movie.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Reed! Not as nice as your stacked Dragonfly shots, but always nice to get some decent shots of a bird that generally prefers to hang out in the brush and branches. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

  1. Love the lush greens and smooth blue-gray of the settings for these photos – and as always, I appreciate having multiple views of the bird for ID purposes… and because their different poses help me sense their motion in life as the hop and flit from one perch to another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sam – there were so many dreary wet days on our two major vacations this year, a lot of my shots suffered on the vibrant side. Being this was a couple of years ago (seems like more than that thanks to the pandemic), was able to feature a series in decent light (my rig definitely likes like even though it is an end to end f4). My brother is always in my ear about the various angles – both to help us identify it especially in the families that have very similar features like these here Sparrow and also to help convey the overall aspect of the bird so others can appreciate it that might not be familiar with that specific species or even in hopes of getting more people involved in birding in general. The more fans, the better we get at conservation. Appreciate you dropping in Sam – heading out on another adventure today and will keep my eye out for the young Green Herons now that you’ve educated me on what to look for!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I said that to myself about January, then March, then June and now with Halloween fast approaching I am praying I can get to it in November.. except Thanksgiving, then Christmas and then our big beginning of the year vacation.. and then right back where I started ugh. I need to go back to work so I can get stuff done as I am certainly not accomplishing what I need to even with the extra 8-10 hours a day and I’m definitely not laying on the couch – where are these hours disappearing to!?! Still shocked at the number of Sparrow enthusiasts out there – glad you enjoyed our musically gifted friend. Good to see (and read) about your trail journey – really enjoyed the posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny, I still have friends (who are all still working crazy 40+ weeks) that wonder what I do with all my “extra” time. I do think they think I sit around with my feet up all day.😂 The reason to rib you as a newbee in the retired community. We never catch up with everything on our wish lists.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t burst my bubble Cedar, was hoping this was all just a new retiree blip and then after maybe 10 months everything starts humming along… okay maybe 11 months ha! Problem right now is the honey-do list is outpacing my wish list and with this newly acquired bag of absolute raw energy they call a puppy my days have even gotten fuller – sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😊😂🤨 Let’s see… long honey do list ✅ … never seem to get fun things done ☑️… spouse gets you a new hobby (so you fill your days) ✔️✔️✔️ Yup – you are now officially retired!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s