I saw my first fox sparrow this fall at Hillman State Park on Sunday, November 13.
Fox sparrows (Passerella iliaca) breed in Canada, Alaska and the northern Rockies and spend the winter in the southern U.S. so we typically only see them on migration in Pittsburgh.
These birds are never numerous and are often hard to find. Sometimes you hear one scratching in dead leaves in the underbrush but he’s well camouflaged. Fortunately the bird at Hillman flew into a tree with a flock of dark-eyed juncos so I could see him. A nice surprise.
Look for surprises among the sparrows this week. Perhaps the ducks and geese will arrive at last.
This phenology for early November still applies because our weather’s been so warm:
(photo by Steve Gosser)