Birding Tips: Sparrows in Kansas

Did you know there are 32 species of sparrows that have been observed in Kansas, and that eleven of those have been seen in all 105 counties?

It’s true–birdwatchers will travel many miles to search for specific sparrows to add to their county lists, so it’s a treat when the birds appear in the open long enough for identification and a photo.  But attaching an accurate ID to some sparrows can be tricky.  Come to the Library on Thursday, November 14, at 7:00 p.m. to find out more about these birds, their habitat preferences, and acquire some ID tips from experienced Kansas birder, Matt Gearheart.  This program is cosponsored by the Topeka Audubon Society and members will also be there, so bring your questions!

Harris's Sparrow3While I’m up for the challenge of searching for sparrows I haven’t seen before, I always look forward to the arrival of the White-throated sparrows that visit my backyard in winter.  Their sweet song breaks nature’s silence on the coldest days.  The appearance of Harris’s sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos in the fall, other personal favorites, signify seasonal change.  Kansas residents will continue to see them during the winter months ahead.

How many sparrows can you name or identify?  Do you have a favorite, and if so, why is it your favorite?

To learn more, visit Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology, review the Birds of Kansas, and check out a copy of The Guide to Kansas Birds and Birding Hot Spots.


photos of Harris’s Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco in winter submitted by author



Kimberly Sain

As a Public Services Specialist, in addition to Reference work I promote the Travel, Pets, and Lawn & Garden Neighborhoods, coordinate nature-themed programs for adults and families, and serve on the Big Read planning committee. My interests include exploring new travel destinations, National Parks, Alaska, hiking trails in Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas, birding, Sandhill crane migration, Monarch waystations, Kansas native plants, citizen science activities, volunteer work as a certified Kansas Master Naturalist, and reading essays about the natural environment. Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country is my all-time favorite novel.

One thought on “Birding Tips: Sparrows in Kansas

  1. Looking forward to learning more about our native sparrows whose IDs are sometimes a challenge. I always look forward to the return of the winter sparrows that flit around my backyard and bring me pleasure watching them enjoy the feed and water provided for them. Two of my favorites are the song sparrows and the juncos.

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