Song sparrow (Sept. 10)

Melospiza melodia

These 6-inch birds should be called songs sparrows, as in plural, because of their ability to sing as many as 20 melodies in a morning. Each can in turn be sung in scores of variations.

Song sparrows will soon be found statewide as they migrate southward for the fall and winter. Areas of dense cover, such as cattails and weedy areas, are prime habitat. The birds are unusually dark for sparrows, with a tail that’s longer than on many sparrow species.

While they like to spend their days deep in places like cattail marshes, song sparrows can often be coaxed into showing themselves as curiosity gets the best of them and they come forth to check out the squeaking or hissing noises of a birder or wildlife photographer.