Date: 3/5/17 5:08 pm
From: Max Thompson <maxt...>
Subject: Re: Spring arrivals and a Song Sparrow question
As far as I know, there are only 3 subspecies that have been seen in Kansas
although I don't think anyone has looked at them in great depth.
M. m. juddi, M. m. euphonia, M. m. montana. The common one is juddi. I have
seen montana here before and it has very narrow breast striping. I am not
sure about euphonia. Neither the Pacific NW Song Sparrow nor the "desert"
song sparrow fallax are likely in Kansas.
Max Thompson

-----Original Message-----
From: Birds & Their Habitats in Kansas [mailto:<KSBIRD-L...>] On
Behalf Of Lowell Johnson
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2017 5:59 PM
To: <KSBIRD-L...>
Subject: Spring arrivals and a Song Sparrow question

First Eastern Phoebe at Stockdale on March 2, a Franklin's Gull on the same
date at the tubes that Paul Weidhaas told me about and a Hermit Thrush along
the River Pond on March 4. Clearly things are moving north.


My question concerns a Song Sparrow that I saw along the Blue River Hills
Road just past Mill Creek. It was with several American Tree Sparrows.
The Song Sparrow was so reddish that my initial reaction was Fox Sparrow.
However, the size, bill, facial pattern and amount of underpart streaking
all looked wrong. I wanted a photograph, but the bird flew while I was
waiting on the autofocus. The bird had a strong reddish central spot, a
limited amount of reddish streaking on the breast and sides and a strong
reddish color to its wings and tail. It had the light head stripe of Song
Sparrows but looked totally different from the darker brownish ones that I
have been seeing. I didn't get a good look at the back color. As soon as I
got back to my car I grabbed the National Geographic field guide, and the
similarity to the fallax subspecies of the desert southwest immediately
caught my attention. We have had some strong southern winds lately but this
identification seems unlikely to me. The next most likely candidate would
be the morphna subspecies of the Pacific northwest, although the bird that I
saw did not appear quite that dark. Have either of these subspecies been
seen in Kansas, let alone Riley County? I recognize that color pictures in
any field guide may be off and that color varies within any subspecies. Any
suggestions would be appreciated!


Lowell Johnson

Manhattan, KS

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