This was the first fox sparrow we've seen at our house. A new entry in our "yard list"! Those are pretty rare at this point. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a fox sparrow at all before, in fact. It's a very distinctive bird, with its rust-red-and-gray coloring, bold facial markings and heavily streaked breast. There are considerable regional variations in color and bill thickness, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, with "sooty," "slate-colored" and "thick-billed" variants seen in various parts of the West, as well as the rusty red variant that is widely distributed across the northern boreal forests.
|Fox sparrow at center right, with male (darker) and female juncos|
The streaky breast is supposed to concentrate on one large central chest spot, but I wasn't able to get a photo of that. The bird was quite skittish and quick to fly away if it sensed movement, even through the window where I was watching and trying to take photos unobtrusively.