If you spot a Fox Sparrow in Iowa, or anywhere in eastern US in the next few weeks, take a moment and have a good look. They won’t be here long.
Yesterday one hopped through my garden, stirring up its breakfast. It attracted my eye because it looked like a sparrow — but big!
The Fox Sparrow swooped into a spot where dried oak leaves completely covered the ground. The bird’s rust-and gray colors matched the leaves so well that it was hard to see it except when it moved.
It kept jumping backward and pecking at the ground, finding the insect larvae hidden under the dead leaves. I was glad I’d left the leaves to enrich the soil where they landed last fall. Now the leaves are a pantry, feeding birds at the moment when they urgently need fuel for their long migration flights.
Fox Sparrow is named after foxes, who have rusty red fur. Fox Sparrow also has vivid reddish triangles on its white chest and sides. Handsome. Worth taking a good look at, if you’re lucky enough to have one pass through your garden.
Fox Sparrows are heading north to nest. In eastern North America, we get to see them only in winter or while they’re migrating. I usually see them in March.
Fox Sparrows are not ours. They are travelers, passing through. My garden is just one of many rest stops. The sparrow I welcomed yesterday was the first migrating song bird I've seen this year. Now it’s really spring.
Thanks for reading My Gaia! It is a reader-supported publication. Please subscribe, as either a free or paid subscriber, and I’ll send you a notice of each new post. — Diane
I am not familiar with them--will keep an eye out now for them. Thanks.
Fox sparrows are so cool!! They are fun to watch jumping and scratching...that motion is very distinctive, tho a bit similar to towhees, tho quite distinctively different.
Just saw one fox sparrow today, but had 4 or 5 under our bird feeders last week scratching for insects. They are entertaining. I do wish we could enjoy them for a longer time. Thanks for sharing Diane!!