Wickersham's Conscience

In Western culture, sparrows get no respect. They are trivial. God famously notes even a sparrow’s fall. Matthew 10:29. And in North America, for the most part, they aren’t even sparrows, an Old World family of birds. European ornithologists apparently thought the New World birds looked like sparrows. But they are Emberzids, more closely related to finches than to the old world Passeridae.

But these little birds are beautiful, elegant and inhabit an amazing range of Alaska habitats. Here are a few.

The Savannah Sparrow prefers grasslands and fields, although it is adapatable. WC has seen and photographed it above tree line in alpine tundra, and in the marshland habitats of the Yukon River delta.

If there is a prize for most adaptable Alaska sparrow, it would got to the White-crowned Sparrow. They breed in high alpine tundra, swampy lowlands, coastal marshes and the boreal forest. As well as…

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