A lark sparrow looks at the camera. It stands on woodchips with grass in the background. It has five white stripes arranged in a star pattern around its face and a black spot on its chest.  An identifying characteristic is the red-brown color in between the white stripes on the head.
Photo Credit:
Kathy Wiederholt

Little Brown Jobs

Authored on

Last week, I talked about the birds nesting at the CREC orchard. I said that a nest of little sparrows on the ground was a Lincoln’s sparrow nest. This identification caused great excitement for a fellow bird lover who reads our blog: Lincoln’s sparrows are not known to nest in North Dakota!

I saw a nest and brooding bird many years ago that someone else thought was a Lincoln’s sparrow. I kind of ran with the assumption that these little nests were all Lincoln’s. Bad idea. To confirm the identity of this little nest, I put on camouflage and stalked the adult bird with my camera. Success! This was actually a lark sparrow’s nest. Even though I was wrong, it was still cool to identify this sparrow – I’d never recorded one before. I looked today and the young birds have fledged; they’re gone.

In the future, I think I should identify all sparrows by the term an old friend uses: LBJs: Little Brown Jobs.

Kathy Wiederholt
Fruit Project Manager