Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery birds] Field Sparrow, Spizella pusilla, photographed at Paul Rushing Park, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 28 March 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with tsn-pz camera eyepiece 1/500s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 doubtful
    July 31, 2009

    A… Sparrow?

  2. #2 Michael
    July 31, 2009

    A tricky one–I agree a sparrow–white eye ring, grayish face, reddish/rusty crown-head stripes, possible white wing-bars, a striped-ish back, grayish white belly (as much as you can see), a hint of a gray rump…I can’t quite get the leg color and wish I could see the bill–okay, I think it’s a Field Sparrow.

  3. #3 Tanya Z
    July 31, 2009

    I don’t think it’s a sparrow. The back of the head of a sparrow is colored differently (I am not an ornitologist, but I had a sparrow once). Also, the legs are too delicate. I think, it’s one of those smaller birds that eats flies and small insects.

  4. #4 psweet
    July 31, 2009

    I hadn’t thought to check the leg color — looks pinkish-red to me. Good call! I was leaning towards Field Sparrow rather than American Tree Sparrow based on: range (too far south for American Tree), the continuation of rust from the crown to the back, the flaring of the rufous eye-stripe, behind the eye, and what appears to be a short primary extension, perfectly suited for a short-distance migrant like a Field, but all wrong for a much longer migrant in American Tree Sparrow.

  5. #5 djarm67
    July 31, 2009

    It looks like a house sparrow. Name one field mark? Bugger. How about “it looks like one.” lol


  6. #6 arby
    July 31, 2009

    Field. Eye ring.

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