The Fox Sparrow

October 31, 2017

The Fox Sparrow is one of the largest sparrows we see here in Massachusetts, they generally arrive late October into early November in our area. A handsome and very distinctive bird with reddish-brown plumage and a heavily streaked breast, they can be found almost anywhere at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Fox Sparrows have a peculiar method of searching for food; they scratch the ground, not like a hen with one foot at a time, but with both feet at once. They often will do this repeatably in one place digging holes well into the leaf litter. It is not unusual to see several Fox Sparrows together feeding in this manner all tossing litter at the same time. Other sparrows will often join in and find food that has been unearthed by the Fox Sparrow.

Some of the better areas to find Fox Sparrows at Mount Auburn are near Consecration Dell and what most birders refer to as “the Dry Dell,” (or Narcissus Path) which is between Beech and Willow Avenues. Other areas include the area along Mound Avenue and Spruce Avenue near Willow Pond. Sometimes you may be able to see Fox Sparrows into the early winter months (at this time, sending snow into the air, instead of leaf litter as they scratch for food). I personally think that the song of the Fox Sparrow is one of the best, and you’ll have a good chance of hearing it when they migrate back north again, in late March and into early April.

About the Author: Bob Stymeist

Bob Stymeist is Bird Observer's Bird Sightings Compiler and a regular bird walk leader for the Friends of Mount Auburn. View all posts by Bob Stymeist →

3 Comments

  1. Bill Verry says:

    Enjoyed the article. My favorite bird. I occasionally see them on my land in Maine. Quite tolerant of human observers. Be well.

  2. Dear Bob,

    When is your next birding outing? I am doing a very short student film about the cemetery and would like to photograph you or others birding there. Is early morning on the weekends the best time to find birders and see birds? I would also like interview you for the film. Are you willing and available? Thanks for your consideration. Leslie

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