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American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

By: Pat Coate

Sparrows are often referred to as “LBJs”, or Little Brown Jobs, among birders. Many species can be difficult to distinguish due to subtle differences in field marks and others due to their skulking behavior making getting a good look hard to come by. So, when a firm ID cannot be made, the “LBJ” column gets checked.

The East Aurora Bird Club recently held a helpful workshop on identifying some of the more common species in our area. Shortly afterwards I came across this very photogenic American Tree Sparrow, which gave me a chance to try out my new found ID skills.

American Tree Sparrow

Some key field marks for the American Tree Sparrow are:
• Two-tone bill, dark on top and yellow on bottom
• Breast is not streaked, but has a dark spot in center
• Rusty-colored cap and line behind eye

American Tree Sparrow

The rusty cap on the American Tree Sparrow is solid. Some sparrows, like the field and song sparrows, have a light colored stripe on the top of the head.

American Tree Sparrow


American Tree Sparrow

Another look at the solid rusty cap.

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