21 Sparrows in Oregon (With Pictures)

21 Sparrows in Oregon (With Pictures)

Oregon’s diverse landscapes, from its dense forests to open meadows and urban areas, provide a unique backdrop for birdwatching enthusiasts, particularly those interested in the variety of sparrows that call this region home.

With 21 species identified, each sparrow brings its own unique charm and set of characteristics, making Oregon a rich field for both amateur and experienced birdwatchers. This introductory guide aims to highlight the diversity of sparrows in Oregon, touching on their habitats, behaviours, and how to identify them.

Whether you’re a seasoned birder or just starting out, understanding these feathered inhabitants offers a deeper appreciation of Oregon’s natural beauty and biodiversity.

1. Song Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza melodia
  • Life span: 2-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-7 in / 14-18 cm
  • Weight: 0.8-1.4 oz / 22-40 g
  • Wingspan: 9.1-9.8 in / 23-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

Oregon’s Song Sparrows inhabit a wide range of habitats from coastal marshes to river valleys. These medium-sized sparrows showcase a complex pattern of brown and gray streaks across their back, with a distinctive, central breast spot.

Their melodious song is a staple of their identity, varying greatly across regions. Despite their variable plumage, which can blend with the dense underbrush, their sweet tunes reveal their presence in the thicket.

Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow’s nesting is a testament to their resilience, choosing thickets or ground cover to artfully conceal their nests. This meticulous selection ensures their offspring are shielded from predators’ prying eyes, weaving a snug abode from grass and leaves, lined with soft feathers for warmth, showcasing their instinctual craftsmanship.

The Song Sparrow’s palate is as rich as its melody, favouring a mix of insects, seeds, and fruit. This dietary diversity reflects their adaptability, foraging on the ground with a discerning eye for nourishment. Their role in the ecosystem as both seed dispersers and pest controllers highlights their integral part in nature’s symphony.

Conservation efforts for the Song Sparrow focus on preserving their natural habitats, crucial for their survival and breeding. Advocacy for wetlands and undisturbed grasslands ensures these melodious creatures continue to flourish, underscoring the importance of ecological balance and the impact of human intervention on their populations.

2. House Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passer domesticus
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.4 oz / 30-40 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The House Sparrow, a familiar bird found across many global cities, has a robust presence in urban and suburban areas of Oregon. Males are easily identified by their gray crowns, white cheeks, a distinctive black bib, and rufous neck, whereas females and juveniles display a more subdued palette of brown and gray.

This species adapts well to human-altered environments, often found nesting near buildings and other structures, making it one of the most recognizable birds worldwide.

House Sparrow

The industrious House Sparrow isn’t picky about where it sets up home. From the cozy nooks of building ledges to the bustling environments of train stations, these adaptable creatures weave nests out of whatever materials are at hand, crafting a patchwork of grass, feathers, and paper. Their communal spirit shines through in their nesting, often choosing spots close to human activity, basking in our shared spaces.

Not ones to shy away from a diverse menu, House Sparrows thrive on a diet as varied as their habitats. From the seeds they peck off the ground to the insects they snatch from mid-air, these birds are quintessential opportunists. The crumbs of humanity are their banquet, making them familiar guests at outdoor eateries and urban dwellings.

Despite their abundance in urban landscapes, House Sparrows face challenges from habitat loss and pollution. Conservation efforts for these birds focus on maintaining their habitats and ensuring food availability. Their story is a testament to adaptability and resilience, navigating the balance between human expansion and the need for natural space.

3. Swamp Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza georgiana
  • Life span: 2-4 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.2 oz / 20-35 g
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.1 in / 22-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

The Swamp Sparrow, a bird of secretive nature, thrives in marshy wetlands across North America, including Oregon’s lush habitats. Its appearance is characterized by a gray face, rusty wings, and a darker, streak-free breast compared to other sparrows. This bird’s preference for reed-filled wetlands makes glimpses of it both rare and special, blending effortlessly with its chosen environment’s tall grasses and reeds.

Swamp Sparrow

Nestled in the marshes, the Swamp Sparrow selects the most secluded spots for its nest, a hidden gem amidst the reeds. This choice reflects their need for privacy and protection, crafting a secure haven from grasses, meticulously lined with finer materials for their chicks’ comfort, an intimate retreat from the bustling marsh life.

In the watery realms they call home, Swamp Sparrows have a diet leaning heavily towards insects and small aquatic creatures. Their skilled foraging in shallow waters showcases their adaptation to their environment, a dance between the water’s edge and the land, sustaining themselves and their young with the bounty of the marsh.

The conservation story of the Swamp Sparrow is deeply tied to wetland preservation. Efforts to protect these vital ecosystems are crucial for their survival, highlighting the interconnectedness of water health, land management, and avian life. Conservation initiatives aim to safeguard these areas from development and pollution, ensuring a future where Swamp Sparrows continue to thrive.

4. Dark-eyed Junco

  • Scientific name: Junco hyemalis
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.1 oz / 20-30 g
  • Wingspan: 7.5-9.8 in / 19-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Dark-eyed Junco, a harbinger of winter in Oregon, varies in coloration but is commonly seen with a slate-gray body contrasted by a white belly. Known as “snowbirds,” these sparrows frequent feeders and forest floors, their dark silhouettes flitting against the snow. Their presence is a comfort during the long winter months, bringing life and activity to still, cold landscapes.

Dark-eyed Junco

The Dark-eyed Junco, a shadowy figure against the snow, prefers the quiet solitude of the forest floor for its nesting sites. Tucked under a bush or hidden in a crevice, their nests are marvels of concealment, built with precision and care, offering protection and warmth to their offspring in the cool undergrowth.

With a diet that shifts with the seasons, the Dark-eyed Junco adapts from seeds to insects as the world around them blossoms and fades. Their foraging reflects a harmony with the cycle of life, a delicate balance maintained within the ecosystems they inhabit, showcasing their role as both seed dispersers and natural pest controllers.

The conservation of Dark-eyed Juncos hinges on maintaining the forested and brushy habitats they depend on. Climate change and habitat fragmentation pose significant threats, prompting conservationists to advocate for sustainable forestry practices and climate action. Efforts to protect their habitats ensure that these resilient birds can continue to grace our winters with their presence, a reminder of the natural world’s enduring cycles.

5. White-throated Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia albicollis
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 6.3-7.5 in / 16-19 cm
  • Weight: 0.9-1.3 oz / 25-38 g
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.8 in / 22-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Distinct for its white throat and yellow lores, the White-throated Sparrow migrates to Oregon during the colder months. This bird presents a striking appearance with its bold black and white crown stripes, setting off its warm, grayish-brown body. Preferring dense thickets and forest edges, it adds a splash of color and a sweet, whistling song to the winter scene, making it a cherished visitor in the state’s birding circles.

White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow, with its distinctive call, chooses the ground or low bushes for its nesting sites, a humble abode amidst the forest floor’s leaf litter. This selection speaks to their desire for concealment and simplicity, constructing nests that blend seamlessly into the underbrush, a natural masterpiece of camouflage and care.

Feasting on a diet of insects, seeds, and berries, the White-throated Sparrow navigates the forest floor with precision, a forager par excellence. Their dietary habits showcase their ability to exploit the richness of their environment, a balance between the bounty of the undergrowth and the offerings of the canopy.

The tale of the White-throated Sparrow’s conservation is one of preserving the dense forests and underbrush that are their homes. Efforts focus on combating deforestation and maintaining the integrity of woodland habitats, ensuring that these birds continue to thrive amidst the challenges of habitat loss and environmental changes.

6. American Tree Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizelloides arborea
  • Life span: 2-6 years
  • Size: 5.9 in / 15 cm
  • Weight: 0.6-1.0 oz / 18-28 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Found across the northern United States and Canada, the American Tree Sparrow is a visitor that heralds the winter season. Its rufous cap and eyeline stand out against a gray face, while its breast showcases a small, dark spot central to a soft gray underbelly. This bird’s bicolored bill, dark above and yellow below, adds a dash of color to its otherwise muted palette, embodying the resilient spirit of winter’s fauna.

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrows craft nests in low bushes or on ground, a snug assemblage of grass, blending seamlessly into the Arctic’s sparse embrace.

Winter’s warriors, they sift through snow for seeds, in summer turning to insects, a seasonal dance of diet that ensures their survival in harsh climes.

Facing challenges, conservationists are the guardians of the American Tree Sparrow, promoting habitat preservation to ensure these nomads of the north continue to thrive.

7. Chipping Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella passerina
  • Life span: 4-5 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.1 in / 20-23 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

With its bright rufous cap and striking black eye-line, the Chipping Sparrow is a familiar sight in Oregon’s open woodlands and gardens. Its crisp, clean appearance is complemented by a light underbelly and a distinctive, chipping song. This sparrow’s preference for open spaces and its sociable nature around human habitats make it a delightful companion for gardeners and birdwatchers alike.

Chipping Sparrow

The Chipping Sparrow’s choice of nesting site is a delicate balance between open visibility and protective cover, often opting for small trees or shrubs. Their nests, artfully constructed from grasses and lined with hair, embody the care and precision these birds invest in their offspring, a testament to their enduring spirit and tenacity.

Feeding mainly on seeds and insects, the Chipping Sparrow is a frequent visitor to gardens and open woodlands, their diet reflecting the abundance of their chosen habitats. Their foraging habits, a blend of meticulous searching and swift seizing of opportunities, mirror their adaptable and resourceful nature, thriving in both natural and modified landscapes.

Conservation efforts for the Chipping Sparrow focus on habitat preservation and the promotion of biodiversity in urban and suburban areas. By fostering environments rich in native plants and insects, conservationists aim to support the Chipping Sparrow’s dietary needs and nesting preferences, ensuring their continued presence as a beloved part of our outdoor spaces.

8. Savannah Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passerculus sandwichensis
  • Life span: 3-7 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.7 in / 14-17 cm
  • Weight: 0.5-0.9 oz / 14-26 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.4 in / 20-24 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Savannah Sparrow, with its intricate pattern of brown and beige, blends seamlessly into Oregon’s grasslands. Its short, notched tail and yellowish eyebrow stripe are subtle yet distinguishing features. This sparrow prefers open spaces where its streaked appearance provides camouflage among the grasses and low vegetation, embodying the essence of the vast, open landscapes it calls home.

Savannah Sparrow

In the vastness of open fields and grasslands, the Savannah Sparrow crafts its nest directly on the ground, hidden among the tall grasses. This careful selection ensures a stealthy retreat for their eggs and chicks, a testament to their mastery of camouflage and the subtlety of their presence in the sprawling meadows they call home.

The Savannah Sparrow’s diet is a homage to the fields, feasting on a mix of seeds and insects that populate their grassy domains. Their foraging strategy reflects a deep connection to the earth, a ballet of darting and diving through the grass, harvesting the land’s invertebrate bounty and the scattered seeds of the meadow’s flora.

Efforts to conserve the Savannah Sparrow focus on the protection and restoration of prairie and grassland habitats. These birds face challenges from agricultural expansion and urban development, which threaten their nesting grounds. Conservationists advocate for sustainable land management practices that preserve the natural grasslands, ensuring the survival and prosperity of this earth-bound songster.

9. Grasshopper Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Ammodramus savannarum
  • Life span: 2-4 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.5 in / 12-14 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 6.3-7.9 in / 16-20 cm
  • Status: Near Threatened
  • State status: Breeding and rare

A dweller of North America’s open grasslands, the Grasshopper Sparrow presents a subtle beauty. With a brownish back marked by fine, darker streaks and a plain buffy breast, its appearance mirrors the earthy tones of its habitat. This bird’s flat head and relatively short tail give it a distinctive profile, blending seamlessly into the tall grasses it calls home.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrows are ground-nesting maestros, selecting concealed spots in vast meadows to lay their treasures, veiled by nature’s unassuming grace.

These sparrows feast on insects and seeds, foraging in open fields with a precision that belies their small size, a testament to their adaptability.

Conservationists champion the Grasshopper Sparrow, battling habitat loss, ensuring future generations can delight in their serene symphonies across the countryside.

10. Vesper Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Pooecetes gramineus
  • Life span: 2-5 years
  • Size: 5.9 in / 15 cm
  • Weight: 9.5–28.3 g (0.69–1.00 oz)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-9.8 in / 22-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Vesper Sparrow’s name hints at its evening serenades, found across open fields and grasslands in Oregon. It dons a modest dress of brown and white streaks, with white outer tail feathers flashing during flight.

Notable for the white eye-ring that gives it a wide-eyed appearance, the Vesper Sparrow embodies the spirit of rural and open landscapes, often perching on low bushes or fences when not foraging on the ground.

Vesper Sparrow

As twilight descends, the Vesper Sparrow begins its evening song, but its nesting habits are just as noteworthy. Preferring the ground’s humble embrace, they nestle their homes amidst grassy fields, using the terrain to camouflage their presence. This strategy reflects their bond with the earth, creating a simple yet secure environment for their offspring.

The diet of the Vesper Sparrow is a celebration of the fields, feeding on seeds and insects with a preference for the bounty beneath their wings. Their foraging is a dance with the dusk, a testament to their name, thriving in the open landscapes where the ground offers up its riches.

The Vesper Sparrow’s plight is intertwined with the fate of native grasslands, as these areas dwindle due to agriculture and urbanization. Conservationists emphasize the importance of preserving these habitats, advocating for sustainable farming practices and land management that consider the needs of ground-nesting birds, aiming to ensure the Vesper Sparrow’s song endures through the ages.

11. Lark Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Chondestes grammacus
  • Life span: 4-6 years
  • Size: 5.9-6.7 in / 15-17 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.1 oz / 20-31 g
  • Wingspan: 9.1-10.2 in / 23-26 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Lark Sparrow’s distinctive facial pattern, with intricate chestnut and white markings, sets it apart in the grasslands and open woods of North America. This bird’s crisp, harlequin face, combined with a streak-free, buffy chest, and white outer tail feathers, makes it a memorable sight, embodying the diverse tapestry of avian life.

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrows adorn the ground with their nests, an artistic blend of grass and feathers, a testament to nature’s ingenuity and the sparrow’s diligence.

Insects and seeds make up their menu, showcasing their adaptability and the ecological role they play in maintaining the delicate balance of their habitats.

Through conservation, Lark Sparrows find hope, with initiatives aimed at preserving grasslands, ensuring these melodious wanderers grace our landscapes for generations to come.

12. White-crowned Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia leucophrys
  • Life span: 6-13 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.9 in / 17-20 cm
  • Weight: 0.9-1.4 oz / 26-40 g
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in / 25-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Sporting striking black and white stripes atop their heads, White-crowned Sparrows migrate to Oregon to grace winter landscapes. Young birds have brown and gray head stripes, gradually maturing into the adult’s distinctive pattern.

Preferring brushy habitats and edges of woods, these sparrows are often seen hopping on the ground, their bold crowns a contrast against the winter dullness, making them a delightful sight in colder months.

White-crowned Sparrow

With a crown of striking black and white, the White-crowned Sparrow seeks the shelter of shrubs and low branches for its nesting sites. This architectural choice ensures a blend of accessibility and protection, crafting nests that are both a fortress and a cradle, woven from the fabric of their woodland edges and bushy landscapes.

The White-crowned Sparrow’s diet reflects its journey through seasons, from the seeds and fruits of summer’s end to the insects of spring’s bloom. This adaptability in feeding habits underscores their migratory nature, always in tune with the changing tapestry of the landscapes they traverse, a true wanderer’s feast.

As migrants, White-crowned Sparrows face challenges from habitat fragmentation and climate change, which affect their breeding and wintering grounds. Conservationists work towards creating corridors of suitable habitats and addressing climate impacts, striving to ensure that their migratory journeys continue unimpeded, preserving the delicate balance of their annual cycles.

13. Lincoln’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Melospiza lincolnii
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.9 in / 12-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.6 oz / 12-18 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.9 in / 18-20 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Amidst the dense underbrush of wetlands and forests in Oregon, the Lincoln’s Sparrow remains a hidden gem. Its fine, crisp streaks and buffy wash across the breast make it a challenge to spot. This sparrow’s subtle beauty, marked by a gray face and fine streaking, rewards the patient observer with a glimpse into the understated elegance nature often keeps secret from the casual glance.

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Amidst the dense underbrush and along the water’s edge, Lincoln’s Sparrow builds its home, a hidden jewel of moss, grass, and twigs. This selection showcases their preference for secrecy and security, crafting a cozy chamber that blends into the surrounding foliage, a sanctuary nestled in nature’s embrace.

The Lincoln’s Sparrow sustains itself on a diet rich in insects, seeds, and berries, a testament to its versatility and adaptability. Their feeding habits take them through a variety of landscapes, from the dense underbrush to the open meadows, always in search of nourishment, embodying the spirit of an explorer in the natural world.

Conservation for Lincoln’s Sparrow involves preserving their preferred wetland and brushy habitats. These environments are critical for their breeding and feeding, yet are increasingly under threat from development and environmental degradation. Efforts focus on wetland protection, restoration, and responsible land-use policies to ensure these birds have a secure future, highlighting the importance of habitat conservation in their survival narrative.

14. Fox Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Passerella iliaca
  • Life span: 3-6 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.9 in / 17-20 cm
  • Weight: 1.4-1.8 oz / 40-52 g
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.8 in / 26-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

The Fox Sparrow, a large, robust sparrow, impresses with its varied plumage across its range, often showing rich, reddish-brown tones. Its heavy spotting and rustic appearance make it stand out among Oregon’s sparrow population.

Preferring dense thickets and undergrowth, this bird uses a unique, double-scratch foraging technique, kicking backward with both feet to uncover food, a sight that fascinates birdwatchers.

Fox Sparrow

In hidden, thick foliage, Fox Sparrows weave intricate nests, creating cozy homes from grass and twigs, shielded from prying eyes above.

Fox Sparrows indulge in a medley of seeds and insects, scouring the ground with fervent hops and scratches, a dance of survival and sustenance.

Steadfast conservation efforts highlight the resilience of Fox Sparrows, weaving together habitat restoration and public awareness to safeguard these melodious creatures against the tide of change.

15. Black-throated Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Amphispiza bilineata
  • Life span: 3-5 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.3 in / 14-16 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-0.8 oz / 20-24 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-8.7 in / 20-22 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and very rare

Inhabiting the arid landscapes of the American Southwest, the Black-throated Sparrow is a study in contrast. Its striking black throat patch is framed by white, a stark contrast against the soft gray of its body. With a white belly and distinct black and white face markings, this bird is a visual representation of the stark beauty found in desert environments.

Black-throated Sparrow

Amidst desert’s stark beauty, Black-throated Sparrows nest on the ground or in low shrubs, an oasis of life in the arid, sun-soaked terrain.

Masters of the desert, they dine on seeds and insects, a diet mirroring the resilience required to thrive in their harsh, yet majestic, environment.

Conservationists and researchers unite, striving to understand and protect the Black-throated Sparrow, ensuring it remains a symbol of the desert’s enduring spirit.

16. Brewer’s Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Spizella breweri
  • Life span: 3-4 years
  • Size: 4.7-5.1 in / 12-13 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz / 11-14 g
  • Wingspan: 7.1-7.5 in / 18-19 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Brewer’s Sparrow, preferring the sagebrush steppes of the western United States, carries an understated elegance. Its overall gray-brown plumage is finely streaked with darker tones, blending effortlessly into its surroundings. This sparrow’s modest appearance, highlighted by a barely noticeable eyering, exemplifies the subtle beauty of the natural world.

Brewer’s Sparrow

In sagebrush’s embrace, Brewer’s Sparrows build hidden nests, a delicate balance of twigs and grass, crafting the future of their lineage with care.

With a penchant for seeds and insects, these sparrows navigate the sagebrush sea, a testament to their resilience and adaptability in a changing world.

Advocacy and action for Brewer’s Sparrow conservation underscores the importance of sagebrush ecosystems, mobilizing efforts to preserve their home and our shared environmental heritage.

17. Green-Tailed Towhee

  • Scientific name: Pipilo chlorurus
  • Life span: 6-7 years
  • Size: 6.3-7.5 in / 16-19 cm
  • Weight: 0.7-1.2 oz / 20-34 g
  • Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in / 25-30 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

With a vibrant olive-green tail and rump that contrasts beautifully against its soft gray upperparts, the Green-tailed Towhee is a splash of color in its mountainous western North American range. Its white throat and breast, adorned with dark streaks, complement the warm reddish tones of its cap, making it a striking presence among the underbrush.

Green-Tailed Towhee

Green-tailed Towhees nestle their nests among dense shrubs, a secretive haven for their offspring, woven with skill and a touch of nature’s magic.

Feasting on insects and seeds, they are the artisans of the underbrush, their foraging a ballet of persistence and grace amidst the foliage.

Conservation for Green-tailed Towhees focuses on safeguarding habitats, a chorus of efforts that sings to the importance of biodiversity and ecological balance in our world.

18. Sagebrush Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Artemisiospiza nevadensis
  • Life span: 2-3 years
  • Size: 5.1-5.9 in / 13-15 cm
  • Weight: 0.4-0.5 oz / 11-14 g
  • Wingspan: 6.7-7.5 in / 17-19 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

A creature of the vast sagebrush deserts of the western United States, the Sagebrush Sparrow’s muted gray and brown plumage allows it to vanish into its namesake habitat. Its understated elegance is marked by subtle streaks and a distinct white eyering, capturing the essence of the sparse beauty of desert flora.

Sagebrush Sparrow

Sagebrush Sparrows masterfully conceal their nests within the heart of sagebrush, a cradle of twigs and grass, safeguarding the future in a fragrant fortress.

Their diet reflects the rugged beauty of their home, with seeds and insects providing sustenance and strength to navigate the challenges of their environment.

Dedicated to the Sagebrush Sparrow’s survival, conservationists strive to protect and restore their sagebrush habitats, a beacon of hope in the conservation world.

19. Spotted Towhee

  • Scientific name: Pipilo maculatus
  • Life span: 6-10 years
  • Size: 6.3-8.7 in / 16-22 cm
  • Weight: 1.1-1.5 oz / 31-43 g
  • Wingspan: 7.9-9.8 in / 20-25 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Common and breeding

The Spotted Towhee’s bold black upperparts contrast dramatically with its white-spotted sides and vivid rufous flanks, making it a striking figure in the shrublands and forests of North America. This bird’s bright red eyes peer out from its black face, adding a dash of mystery to its already compelling appearance.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhees craft their nests on the ground, a hidden mosaic of leaves and twigs, nestled in nature’s nook, sheltered and serene.

These towhees are eclectic diners, relishing in a diverse buffet of insects and seeds, their foraging a dance of determination and skill.

Conservation efforts for Spotted Towhees aim to preserve their natural theaters, ensuring these vibrant performers continue to enchant in the wild’s symphony.

20. Golden-crowned Sparrow

  • Scientific name: Zonotrichia atricapilla
  • Life span: 4-7 years
  • Size: 6.7-7.9 in (17-20 cm)
  • Weight: 1.2-1.6 oz (34-45 g)
  • Wingspan: 8.7-10.2 in (22-26 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Venturing from its breeding grounds in Alaska and Canada to winter along the Pacific Coast of North America, the Golden-crowned Sparrow brings with it a touch of the arctic’s majesty. Its striking black and white head stripes frame a bright yellow crown, standing out against a backdrop of muted grays and browns, a vibrant reminder of the far north’s fleeting summer.

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrows create nests of artistry on the ground, a blend of grasses and feathers, hidden jewels in the brush, secure and sacred.

With a diet of seeds and insects, they navigate the seasons, a testament to their adaptability and the richness of their northern realms.

Conservation for Golden-crowned Sparrows weaves together efforts to protect their migratory paths, a commitment to ensuring their golden crowns continue to gleam against the sky.

21. California Towhee

  • Scientific name: Melozone crissalis
  • Life span: 4-10 years
  • Size: 7.5-8.7 in (19-22 cm)
  • Weight: 1.1-2.1 oz (32-60 g)
  • Wingspan: 10.2-11.8 in (26-30 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Rare visitor

Found throughout California and into Mexico and Oregon, the California Towhee’s unassuming brown plumage belies its adaptability and resilience. This bird’s uniform coloration, with slight variations in shade from the warm browns of its upperparts to the lighter tones beneath, mirrors the varied landscapes it inhabits, from coastal scrub to urban gardens.

California Towhee

California Towhees tuck their nests into dense shrubbery, a cozy sanctuary woven with precision, safeguarding their lineage in the tapestry of life.

They feast on seeds and insects with a casual grace, embodying the essence of California’s wilds, a harmonious blend of survival and elegance.

Conservationists champion the California Towhee, nurturing habitats and hearts alike, ensuring these resilient spirits continue to thrive in their golden state.

Where to find Sparrows in Oregon

In Oregon, sparrows can be found in a variety of habitats, from urban areas to dense forests and open fields. These adaptable birds thrive across the state, making Oregon an excellent place for birdwatching enthusiasts to spot different species of sparrows.

To find sparrows, it’s important to visit areas where these birds are likely to feed and nest. Early morning or late afternoon, when sparrows are most active, are the best times to observe them. Listening for their distinct chirps and songs can also guide you to their locations.

Here are four good areas in Oregon where you can find a diverse population of sparrows:

  • Sauvie Island: Located near Portland, Sauvie Island offers a mix of wetlands, forests, and agricultural fields, providing a rich habitat for sparrows and other bird species. The island’s diverse environments support a wide variety of sparrows year-round.
  • Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: Situated in southeastern Oregon, this refuge is renowned for its bird diversity. Its vast wetlands and meadows are ideal for spotting breeding and migrating sparrows during the spring and fall migrations.
  • Silver Falls State Park: Located in the central part of the state, Silver Falls State Park’s combination of dense forests and open areas makes it a favorable spot for sparrows. The park’s trails offer birdwatchers the chance to see sparrows in a more wooded habitat.
  • Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge encompasses areas of open water, wetlands, and upland forests. Located southwest of Portland, it provides excellent opportunities to observe sparrows and other bird species throughout the year, especially during migration periods.

Equipping yourself with a good pair of binoculars, a field guide to help identify different sparrow species, and patience will enhance your birdwatching experience in these areas. Whether you’re a seasoned birder or a curious beginner, Oregon’s rich avian landscapes offer a rewarding experience for anyone interested in observing sparrows and the state’s natural beauty.


Sparrows thrive across Oregon’s varied landscapes. Their adaptability and charming presence make them accessible and delightful subjects for birdwatchers. By exploring the state’s diverse ecosystems, one can truly appreciate the beauty and resilience of these small, often-overlooked feathered companions.

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