Let me begin by saying that I am not a big fan of sparrows.
They clog the feeder, and to the untrained eye (mine), they are pretty much birds of the same (unspectacular) feather.
But ignorance is not always bliss, and when a friend looked out my window and said, "Hey, you've got a somewhat unusual sparrow below your feeder," I sat up and took note (and a few photos).
(Click "Continue reading..." immediately below.)
The sparrow in question turned out to be a tree sparrow, and as my friend pointed out, the bird had a two-toned beak -- dark on top and lighter below.
The tree sparrow is a winter guest. In the summer he is in Canada eating insects.
As anyone who has been to parkland in Canada knows, Canada is chock full of bugs in the summer.
These days, he is a seed-eater and feeder frequenter, so enjoy him while you can.
Read more about this little guy here.
As it turned out, there was another different sparrow by the feeder, a song sparrow (below).
This guy has a streaked chest and, by sparrow standards, a somewhat flashy dresser.
More on the song sparrow here.
The sparrows I typically get are my feeders are white-throats (which I like because I can ID them with confidence) and black-throated browns, one of the more-polite nicknames for house sparrows.