When the snake ate the nine sparrows, everybody in the know understood that the Battle of Troy would take nine years. Christianity proclaims that even the lowly sparrow was invited to make his home in the Lord's temple. There is a book entitled Song of the Sparrow and a movie entitled The Song of Sparrows. Most of the time the literary types use sparrow in place of small and insignificant. The ancient Greeks even used sparrow to refer to any small bird. Obviously, this is kind of demeaning to Sparrow and we take exception on his behalf, (but it is still a fact of life that a lot of different kinds of small birds get called Sparrow).
Here in The Sea Ranch, a dozen or so different kinds of Sparrow have been seen by those who can tell them apart. Here are six that we have images for: White-crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys, Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus, Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia, Fox Sparrow, Passerella iliac, and White Throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis. White Crowned Sparrow has excellent taste in fedoras (black & white), but is not known for his singing, because it is not as complex a tune as his cousin, Song Sparrow, but if you watch and listen carefully you will hear him as you walk our paths here on the ranch. His song is usually described as a thin sweet whistle. He is ubiquitous along the bluff top trail and we like his song - a lot.
Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis, is most readily found on the edge of our forest areas. Junco is a very active little bird that forages on the ground for seeds and grubs. He is very definitly what some folks call a "Peep" - usually understood to be one of the many very small fluff balls that flit through the brush calling out in a chirp or peep rather than a full fedged song with words and melody. Many times all you will get is a glimpse of some white tail feathers flying away from you, but that is because he is very busy. If you wait around a bit you will find that he is usually very tolerant of people.