Birds Of Southern California

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)

A personal favorite of mine, the Lincon's Sparrow. Typically a wintering bird here in Orange County and fairly common migrant. According to the book, the "Birds of Orange County California", the Lincoln's Sparrow is usually found in moist and weedy areas much like the photos in this section at Oso Reservoir and Huntington Central Library. However, several of these images were taken on the Barano Walk Trail in Mission Viejo of which neither of those two environments apply. My sightings on the Barano Walk Trail were beneath Oleander shrubs and in a nearby, heavily weeded backyard on February 22nd of 2015 around 3:45 pm (photos not taken on this date). Two were perched about a foot apart on a wrought iron fence. Their song is quite different than that of a Song Sparrow though in my experiences, seldom heard. Their call however overlaps that of a Fox Sparrow and is more of a "chip" sound. Like most sparrows, this species is rarely seen high up and mostly on the ground or clinging to branches up to around 7 feet or so as a general mentioning. All photos in this section taken in Orange County California. Here's more on the Lincoln's Sparrow as seen on Wikipedia: Lincoln's sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) is a medium-sized sparrow. Adults have dark-streaked olive-brown upperparts with a light brown breast with fine streaks, a white belly, and a white throat. They have a brown cap with a grey stripe in the middle, olive-brown wings, and a narrow tail. Their face is grey with brown cheeks, a brown line through the eye, and an eye ring. They are somewhat similar in appearance to the Song Sparrow. Their breeding habitat is wet thickets or shrubby bogs across Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern and western United States; this bird is less common in the eastern parts of its range. The nest is a well-concealed shallow open cup on the ground under vegetation. These birds migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, and northern Central America; they are passage migrants over much of the United States, except in the west. They forage on the ground in dense vegetation, mainly eating insects and seeds. They are very secretive. Their song is a musical trill, but this bird is often not seen or heard even where they are common. This bird was named by Audubon after his friend, Thomas Lincoln, of Dennysville, Maine. Lincoln shot the bird on a trip with Audubon to Nova Scotia in 1834, and Audubon named it "Tom's Finch" in his honor.