Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America
Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America
Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America

* Book Type:

Not Available Online
Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Chris Earley
Audience: Trade
Specs: over 220 full-color photographs, range maps, glossary, bibliography, index
Pages: 128
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" x 1/4"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20030410
Copyright Year: 2003
Price: Select Below


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Sparrows and Finches of the Great Lakes Region and Eastern North America

A field guide to 60 sparrows and finches including 200 color photographs, detailed descriptions of song, habitat and plumage changes according to season and gender.

Sparrows and Finches offers birders information on this rich variety of species right in their own backyard. It's hard to keep all those little brown birds apart. This handy, bring-along guidebook is designed to help beginner and advanced birders to identify accurately over 48 types of sparrows, finches, and their look-alikes.

Sparrows and Finches focuses only on these two families within a defined geographical location: the Great Lakes and eastern North America. As result, it offers comprehensive coverage in a small, convenient format.

The book is heavily illustrated with 220 full-color photographs taken by award-winning photographers that show these birds in their natural habitats. Comparison pages group similar-looking birds on a single spread for quick reference. Concise and accurate information on each bird includes:

  • Common name
  • Biological classification
  • Song description
  • Identifying features
  • Seasonal changes to plumage color

Sparrows and Finches will prove indispensable to naturalists, students, and birders at all levels of experience. A special section entitled What Can I Do to Help the Sparrows offers simple ways to attract sparrows and finches to your own backyard. This is an engaging and friendly guide that reveals the rich diversity among a seemingly common family of birds so often taken for granted.


Chris Earley is the Interpretive Naturalist at the University of Guelph's Arboretum. He is an active birder whose field guide to warblers is also available in this series.


LBJs and you

Those LBJs (Little Brown Jobs)! "They all look the same to me" seems to be a common statement from many beginning birders. And they do all look the same -- at first. With practice, persistence, and above all, patience, you will soon be able to identify sparrows and other birds with cone-shaped beaks, such as finches and buntings.

When trying to identify birds it is important to remember the following motto: I don't know.

Really, it's okay to say it. Too many birders will get an inconclusive view of a bird and then just guess. With practice, you can identify birds from incredibly short glimpses of them, but there will always be some "I don't knows" And even if you do get a good look and still can't identify the bird, you will have learned from the process. The next time you see that species, it will be familiar to you and you may see another field mark or behavior to help in its identification. And don't forget to watch the birds as well! Keeping a checklist is fun and a way to record your sightings, but careful observations will help you really understand these interesting creatures. Watching birds in their environment reveals interactions that link all of nature together.


LBJs (Little Brown Jobs) and you

How to use this book (terminology)

A note to beginners

The quotes


Classification of the birds in this book

Identification features

Sparrow & finch look-alikes

Seasonal status of sparrows & finches

Listing of 45 species each on a double page spread and illustrated with multiple photographs. The listing includes common and Latin species name, description, range map, graphic representation of the female's breast pattern, and identification prompts.
- Eastern Towhee
- American Tree Sparrow
- Chipping Sparrow
- Clay-colored Sparrow
- Field Sparrow
- Vesper Sparrow
- Lark Sparrow
- Savannah Sparrow
- Grasshopper Sparrow
- Henslow's Sparrow
- Le Conte's Sparrow
- Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow & Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow
- Seaside Sparrow
- Fox Sparrow
- Song Sparrow
- Lincoln's Sparrow
- Swamp Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
- Harris's Sparrow
- White-crowned Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Junco Vagrants
- Smith's Longspur
- Lapland Longspur
- Snow Bunting
- Northern Cardinal
- Rose-breasted Grosbeak
- Blue Grosbeak
- Indigo Bunting
- Dickcissel
- Pine Grosbeak
- Purple Finch
- House Finch
- Red Crossbill
- White-winged Crossbill
- Common Redpoll
- Hoary Redpoll
- Pine Siskin
- American Goldfinch
- Evening Grosbeak
- House Sparrow

What can I do to help sparrows & finches?


Cheat sheets


Comparison charts of similar birds with chart to aid in differentiation, cross referenced to the species listings.
- Sparrows with Rufous Crowns Comparison
- Ammodramus Sparrow Comparison
- Blue Grosbeak / Indigo Bunding Comparison
- Purple / House Finch Comparison
- Redpoll Comparison
- Streaked Underparts Comparison
- Unstreaked or Faintly Streaked Underpart Comparison

Author notes

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