Song Sparrow

Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia

Pictures: (click for larger images)

A Song Sparrow fresh from a bath in the stream behind the Anderson School.  April 2005.
Head-on view of a Song Sparrow in the Botanical Garden. 10-30-05
This guy was goin' nuts kicking around twigs and dirt, probably trying to find someting to eat!  10-30-05
This Song Sparrow had staked out a good bank of bushes near the end of the stream in the Botanical Garden.  Little did he know that there were two Lincoln's Sparrows in the garden at the very same time!  1-22-06
One of the Song Sparrows who lives at Stone Canyon Creek.  Lately he's taken to popping up on top of this hedge near the "end" of the creek, and singing!  11-11-05
Song Sparrow Illustration.

-Photo by Jason Finley.
-Illustration by Robert C. Stebbins from "Birds of the Campus" (1947) by Dr. Loye Miller.

Description: Small.  5"-6.5" in length (beak to tail), same size as a House Sparrow.  Distinguished by being covered wth brown and white stripes!

Sound: "Song consists of 3 short notes followed by a varied trill, sometimes interpreted as Madge-Madge-Madge, put-on-your-tea-kettle-ettle-ettle." (  Listen to a Song Sparrow singing and calling!  Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.

Commonality/Seasonality: Rare, but year-round.

Location: There is a pair that live at the Stone Canyon Creek behind the Anderson School on the northern part of campus.  I'm also pretty sure I've seen some in the Native Fragment.  More recently I've seen some in the Botanical garden too, near the stream.  Otherwise, they've not been seen elsewhere on campus.

Notes: These guys are likely to be found near water.  You might at first think that it's very difficult to tell apart two different types of sparrows, but take a close look at some House Sparrows (found abundantly everywhere) and compare that to pictures of song sparrows and you'll see the difference.


Twenty-six varieties of song sparrows are recognized by the expert within the United States and ten of them are resident within this state.  But wherever you meet him, he's the same cheerful little streaky brown bird that sings at the first light of dawn in summer or winter in a city garden or the weed patch by a desert water hole.  And he's just as happy at noon.  I wish Mrs. browning had known about the American song sparrow.  She could have done him justice.  I can't.  Get acquainted with him yourself.

-Miller, Loye.  "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300.  Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins.  Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.



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