Our Largest Sparrow

April 29, 2017

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Bill Maynard, a botanist and former high school biology teacher, has worked for various government agencies from Alaska to South Florida and for The American Birding Association. He discovered the 87,000 acre Chico Basin Ranch to be the perfect natural laboratory to study and photograph birds, dragonflies, grasshoppers and other insects. Chico Basin Ranch Natural History Resources : BIRDING CHECKLIST // BIRDING MAP // DRAGONFLY & DAMSELFLY CHECKLIST //

Closely related to the common wintering White-crowned Sparrow, the largest sparrow in North America, Harris’s Sparrow, was feeding on the ground next to the Leather Shop, feeding with other Zonotrichia sparrows.  This uncommon species is molting, the black feathers of a breeding bird beginning to appear. This bird breeds in dense willows above treeline in the northernmost reaches of arctic Canada. Its closest relatives are White-crowned Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow.