73-B-2015 Fox Sparrow

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
William Fields
OTHER OBSERVERS
Bonnie Fields - Spouse
Same contact Information
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
My Yard,
32963 Fort Lane
Parma, ID 83660
Bird seen at base of brush pile in yard just a few feet from brush and trees bordering a branch of Snake River.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
At a brush pile where I regularly feed birds. It is adjacent to the riparian vegetation along the Snake River.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
The bird has been seen multiple times on three consecutive days. Observed through binoculars and telescope about 75 feet from window feeding with White-crowned, House, and Song Sparrows, Juncos, Spotted Towhees, Ca. Quail, and Stellar Jays.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Sibley Bird app for apple tablet, and Sibley field quide for Western USA
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Sparrow. It's feeding behavior was similar to other sparrows. It was approx. an inch larger than the other sparrows it was feeding with. It was dark in color,slightly greyish on its head, a bit of rufous on its rump, a very thin white eye ring, had dark stripes on it's sides which converged into a large spot on it's breast, and it's bill had a very yellow lower mandible.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Scratching on the ground to find food similar to the song sparrows and the towhee.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
The large size, the unique spotting/streaking coalescing in the spot on the breast, and the obvious yellow beak.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
It's beak was like other sparrows and no other sparrow has the combination of similar markings (bold streaking with spot on breast and yellow beak)and large size.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I observe birds daily and record sightings and have been birding for 50 years.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I started birding when in college 50 years ago. I am definitely a self-taught amateur who has birded in the US, Australia, & Costa Rica. On a scale of 1-10, I would probably be a 7.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
Seen Dec. 28, 29, 30, 2015
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
None

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description supports identification of Fox Sparrow.

Doug Ward
Accept

While description is light, observer mentions larger size in direct comparison to other sparrows in the flock, as well as several key field marks convincing of a Fox Sparrow, probably from one of the “Slate-colored” ssp. (Passerella illica [schistacae Group]) based on grey head color mentioned.

Dave Trochlell
Accept

I believe this was a Fox Sparrow.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Key details (size, beak color, etc.) noted - I would have liked to have seen an observation re: beak/head shape but still feel that the amount of other evidence is strong.

Shirley Sturts
Accept

Well described - field mark combination fits that of a Fox Sparrow

Darren Clark
Accept

All field marks point towards Fox Sparrow (heavy streaking, large size, yellow bill etc.) and eliminate other sparrows.

Charles Swift
Accept

This is a good description. Interesting that there are so few winter records for Idaho.