Song Sparrow huddling to keep warm on a cold January day in Northern Illinois; 1-31-10.
Song Sparrow gleening scattered seed that had fallen to the ground from my backyard feeder; 3-20-10.
After the House Sparrow, perhaps the most abundant sparrow species around Northern Illinois is the Song Sparrow. Aptly named, this species has a sweet complex song made up of short notes and longer varied trills. I have seen Song Sparrows perched in trees, foraging in brushy areas, and hopping around in grassy areas, both in busy towns and suburbs as well as forest preserves well away from people. They seem very easily adaptable in any habitat. They also are one of the few sparrows which will live here year round (Above, 1-31-10). Its very heavily streaked breast (which converge into one central spot) and flanks are easily recognized. Although there are several sparrow species with this trait (that I am now familiar with: Savannah, Vesper, and Lincoln), I am never completely certain which one it is until I see its photo or, of course, if I hear the Song Sparrow’s song (Below, 5-2-10, Rock Cut State Park). More often than not, it is a Song Sparrow that I encounter. If anyone thinks any of these photos that I have attributed as Song Sparrows are actually another species of sparrow, I would love to be corrected.