Savannah Sparrows (Passerculus sandwichensis) are one of the most numerous and widespread songbirds in North America. Having seen one on a Maine island in fall and a month later others on the California coast, widespread is a good descriptor.
They’re also described as “inconspicuous, but common,” and “understated, but distinctive” by experts like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I might describe them as “yet another streaky, little brown bird,” except the yellow by their eyes (and the Merlin Bird ID app) helps them stand out from all the other brown, streaky sparrows.
You’re most likely to find Savannah Sparrows in open fields, grassy meadows, and marshes, hopping and flying around in the grass and shrubs, like I did near California’s Point Arena Lighthouse in October. They also have a buzzy, insect-like song. If you’re lucky, one might fly up from all that thick grass and shrubbery to perch on a fence or wire, like the sparrow above did so prettily, leading me to create this page just to show it off in its understated distinction.
I’d forgotten about it until I saw that picture yesterday and was transported back to this moment, with this bird. It was a good moment. And bird.