Fox Sparrow (Paserella iliaca)

21 April

A really large sparrow (“little brown job” or LBJ to the initiated birder) that appears fro a few days in and around the garden nearby habitats most years during the second half of April.

Very heavily marked plumage with a very big chest “badge” and grey cheeks. Typically spend their breeding time a bit north of Montreal. Fox Sparrows forage on leaf litter and bare ground, usually under dense cover and are usually seen foraging in the leaf litter for food with a characteristic “double-scratch” involving a hop forward and an immediate hop back, during which they simultaneously scratch both feet backwards through the leaf litter.

Encouraging shrubs or berry bushes to grow at the edges of your yard, or keeping a brush pile, are good ways to provide places for Fox Sparrows to forage.